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Page 1


 "We are not stopped anywhere" ...



Page 2


 "We are in nobody's pocket" ...



Page 3


 Blix says the impatience is driven by worries about troop morale, opinion polls and weather ...



Page 4


 "I hear your president say that war is the means of last
resort" ...




Page 5


 Blix is more worried about global warming than any armed conflict ...



Hans Blix Talks Iraq


 John Norris Tells The Story Behind The Interview







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Norris: In the last couple of days, the United States has been critical about the fact that in the oral presentation of the most recent weapons report, no mention was made of the unmanned drone and some cluster bombs that were found. What is your response to the criticisms?

Blix: I don't think that anyone here at the U.N. would believe that we intentionally exclude anything like that. Also ... I think the U.S. wants to make a strong case for going in. However, the two cases you're talking about, the drones are not at the stage where we will say it is definitively a violation by the Iraqis. Our inspectors are continuing to look at it. It is mentioned and there are other matters too, like the cluster bomb, that we found that may well be a sort of armament from the past. We don't know, and we have to look at it more. We want to be serious when we come forward with accusations, as we were when ordering the Iraqis to destroy a very large missile program. We had a panel of international experts who looked into that first and they gave us unanimous advice and then we decided they have to scrap all of that and destroy the missiles. That's a big program that could have been very serious in terms of war, and for the Iraqis to destroy them right before they feel like they might be attacked ... well, that's an important step.

"I can imagine that the Iraqis undertake the destruction out of fear."
Norris: One side might dismiss that missile destruction as a smoke screen or a distraction.

Blix: I can imagine that the Iraqis undertake the destruction out of fear. If they had denied it, if they had said no, that certainly would have played into the hands of those that would like to take armed action immediately. I have no illusions in that regard.

Norris: This recent flap over not mentioning the drone is somewhat indicative of the fact that just about every time you have something to say nowadays, one side or the other takes a word or a phrase or a sentence and they want to use it to bolster their case. Do you feel like you're caught in sort of a squeeze play at times?

Blix: Everybody has tried to get mileage out of us and what we say. But I'm the servant of the Security Council. I'm not the servant of any individual member, whether it's the United States, or Russia, or anyone. We are in nobody's pocket and we are not supposed to be. I think that we have to do our job well, investigate thoroughly and then describe very honestly what we see to the Security Council. And some of the things might please people there and other things may not please the people. It is true that the report shows that the Iraqis over the years have hidden a lot of stuff that they have not truthfully reported on numbers of this one thing or another, but it's also true that the report nowhere says or maintains that there remain weapons of mass destruction. We cannot exclude it in a good many cases, but that's not the same thing as saying they are there.

Norris: You mentioned "months" as a general time frame, and I wonder what it is that tells you that that is a reasonable amount of time necessary for inspections.

Blix: I'm not saying you could do it within months unless Iraq cooperates, but if the Iraqis make the decision that they will explain everything that they can, then one might be able to see that they are sincere. I would say they've been frantic in bringing us to curious things, but we have to soberly examine the evidence that comes from them. We also have to soberly examine evidence that comes from other governments as well. They have been saying for a long time that Iraq made an effort to import active uranium, and my colleague demonstrated the other day that they came to the conclusion that it was a fake document that everybody is relying upon. So I don't think it's our job to take evidence for granted, anywhere. We have to look at it critically, all of it.


NEXT: 'You have 200,000 people sitting in the desert and you have to think about their morale. There's also the weather.' ...
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 Hans Blix speaks
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