Monday, 3 February 2003

US is misquoting my Iraq report, says Blix

Days after delivering a broadly negative report on Iraq's cooperation with international inspectors, Hans Blix challenged several of the Bush Administration's assertions about Iraqi cheating and the notion that time was running out for disarming Iraq through peaceful means.

In an interview on Wednesday, Dr Blix, the United Nations chief weapons inspector, seemed determined to dispel any impression that his report was intended to support the United States' campaign to build world support for a war to disarm Saddam Hussein.

"Whatever we say will be used by some," Dr Blix said, adding that he had strived to be "as factual and conscientious" as possible. "I did not tailor my report to the political wishes or hopes in Baghdad or Washington or any other place."

Dr Blix took issue with what he said were US Secretary of State Colin Powell's claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents.

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