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Blix: Iraq Must Declare Weapons

November 15, 2002

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday, on the eve of his departure for Baghdad, that Iraq must take responsibility to declare all of its weapons programs to the United Nations.

``Iraq’s declaration is a very important document that we hope they take very seriously,″ Blix told reporters. The declaration, laid out in the terms of a tough new Security Council resolution on Iraq, will be compared with previous data inspectors have on Iraq.

Inspections may begin Nov. 27, Blix said. The deadline for the Iraqi declaration is Dec. 8.

Blix said that if Iraq were to declare, as it has maintained throughout the recent crisis, that it has no weapons of mass destruction, countries that claim to have evidence must make it public.

``I think the United States government is determine that there should be no cat-and-mouse play,″ Blix said.

The United States believes Iraq has been illegally rearming for several years. Inspectors, barred from Iraq since December 1998, have not been able to verify either claim.

Blix said inspectors would continue the potential Nov. 27 start date of inspections as their first day of work under the terms of the resolution which calls for him to report his findings to the Security Council 60 days later.

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