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Iraq Newspaper Says U

December 24, 1997

Iraq Newspaper Says U.N. Weapons Monitors Will Be Blocked From President Saddam Hussein’s Palaces Despite Security Council Request To Open Sites

The daily Al-Thawra, often used to express the government’s views, said the U.N. Security Council had no right to ask Iraq to permit inspections of these sites.

The commentary came two days after the Security Council criticized Iraq for declaring presidential palaces off limits, saying the government’s refusal to give unconditional access was ``unacceptable and a clear violation″ of U.N. resolutions.

The Security Council adopted the criticism in a non-binding statement after the United States failed to find enough support for stronger language condemning Iraq for blocking access to the sites.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Lawrence Silverman reasserted that ``the U.N. Security Council is absolutely clear that UNSCOM (the group that does the monitoring) should have full, unfettered access to whatever sites it deems necessary to inspect.″

But Al-Thawra called U.N. weapons inspectors ``spies working for the U.S.″ and said Iraq will never allow them to ``relish the violation″ of Saddam’s palaces.

The arms inspectors are responsible for certifying that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction in line with U.N. resolutions adopted after the Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait in 1990.

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