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Iraqi Government Announces Plan To Set Up ‘New Mechanism’ To Deal With U.N. Weapons Inspectors

October 26, 1997

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The Iraqi government responded to a new threat of United Nations’ sanctions by announcing Saturday it would set up a ``new mechanism″ to deal with U.N. weapons inspectors.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said the new procedure would ``reorganize relations with (U.N. inspectors),″ the official Iraqi News Agency reported Saturday.

The aim, Aziz said, was to free Iraq of economic sanctions imposed after the Persian Gulf War. The report provided no further details.

Aziz made his remarks before the National Assembly Saturday, two days after the U.N. Security Council agreed to impose a travel ban against selected Iraqi officials if Baghdad continued to impede inspectors trying to determine if it has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction.

After meeting behind closed doors Saturday, the National Assembly decided to reconvene Sunday, the official news agency reported. The assembly largely carries out the will of President Saddam Hussein.

At the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the council ordered Iraq to destroy its long-range missiles as well as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Until Iraq complies, the council intends to maintain crippling economic sanctions imposed when Saddam’s forces invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Last June, the council warned Iraq that it would consider the travel ban unless the U.N. inspectors’ October report found Baghdad in compliance. The report concluded, however, that Iraq was withholding information and impeding the investigation.

Saddam has repeatedly threatened to end cooperation with U.N. inspectors, believing that the United States and Britain will never agree to lifting sanctions.

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