BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraqi media said Saturday that U.N. inspectors left behind chemical and biological agents in their Baghdad offices to make it appear that Iraq possessed prohibited weapons.
The government newspaper al-Jumhouriya accused the United States of cooperating with the United Nations Special Commission, charged with eliminating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, to send chemical and biological substances to Baghdad.
It said UNSCOM brought the material and even placed it on Iraqi missiles.
A U.N. spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.
On Wednesday, U.N. chief inspector Richard Butler asked the Security Council to send experts to Iraq to destroy or remove chemical and biological samples left behind when inspectors pulled out of Baghdad in December.
Small quantities of chemical warfare agents used to calibrate testing equipment, less than 2 pounds of Iraqi mustard gas, and some biological samples were stored safely in laboratory freezers and posed no threat or hazard to the Iraqi population, Butler said.
He said he had recommended to Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s office that the chemical laboratory and biological storage room in Baghdad be shut down because inspectors have been gone for longer than expected and summer weather could lead to fluctuations in the electricity supply.
Iraq banned UNSCOM from returning after Butler ordered inspectors out of Baghdad just before U.S. and British airstrikes in mid-December.