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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: If months would be reasonable if Iraq were proactive and cooperative, when you hear this new resolution that's on the table talking about a deadline of a few days from now or a week or 10 days more, is that, from the inspectors' point of view, a reasonable request?

Blix: No. No. No. You can't do it within that time, no. I think that there are different factors that drive such an impatience and there wasn't that impatience until the end of January, approximately. One is that they feel, well, they've had 12 years in the first place, and in the second place, they've had from November, so it's enough to conclude that there's no chance. But there are other factors like the military buildup. You have 200,000 people sitting in the desert and you have to think about their morale and this is a momentum in itself. There's also the weather. They also say if you wait much longer it will be a period that will be difficult to fight. And lastly, there's maybe the opinion poll. If public opinion still endorses military action that's one thing, but if they wait maybe it will not. So it's not only impatience, but there are several other factors.

"I think they should have been more sincere in their efforts ..."
Norris: Prime Minister Tony Blair mentioned in Parliament that it would be helpful to conduct interviews with Iraqi scientists outside of Iraq. Is that something you foresee happening if inspections do in fact continue?

Blix: I would think so, and the reason why we are interested is there are people in Iraq who surely know a lot, and if you found them then you want to have their truthful testimony. If you interview them in Baghdad they will have family that can be subjected to repression, retaliation by the government. The country is not a democratic state. Therefore we fear that they might carry a recorder in their pocket or there may be bugs in the walls, and you cannot be absolutely sure that you get a straight testimony. Although I would say even in Iraq under such conditions you can get a lot of the information as well. Now the idea about taking people abroad is that if they come over to Cyprus, which we have in mind, and bring their families and would have the possibility to defect after they would be ready to speak their mind, well I hope so. I think the chances are better there than inside Iraq, but of course they still may have an aunt in Iraq and there may be opportunity for the government to exert pressure on them. So interviews are a valuable tool, but under certain circumstances they'd be more valuable than others.

Norris: Secretary of State Powell said recently that we know what unconditional full disarmament looks like — we saw it in South Africa. Can you comment at all about the difference, if there is one, in the way that South Africa went about disarmament versus the situation in Iraq?

Blix: The South Africans decided that they would like to prove to the world they did not have any nuclear weapons and their decision was not doubted because it was the end of the Cold War, it was also the end of apartheid. The risk was no longer there, and they had intended their weapons to protect themselves. So their motivation was clear. They said, "Come here, and send your inspectors and we'll give them the documents that we have. If they want to see any other, just tell us. We'll give it to them. Or if you want to go anywhere in the country, we think you should go here, but if you go anywhere else, military or civilian, come, we'll show you." Now that showed a sincerity, an openness. Even so, we did not conclude at the end that there was absolutely nothing left. We simply said they behaved in this manner and we have found no indication that anything is left.

Iraq did not spontaneously opt for disarmament. They did it as part of a ceasefire, so they were forced to do it, otherwise the war might have gone on. So the motivation has been very different. Even so, personally I don't understand what they would use chemical or biological weapons for any longer. The Iraqis are not threatened by the Turks or by the Iranians or by the Saudis and they tell me that these are not weapons of mass destruction, they are weapons of self-destruction. I agree. If so, I think they should have been more sincere in their efforts to demonstrate and not drag their feet inch by inch. And we have been missing that sincerity.

NEXT: 'If the Security Council is only relevant if it agrees with the United States, then we have come a long way in a direction that I do not like very much.'...
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 Hans Blix speaks
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