Baghdad, Sept. 21 (Reuters): Iraq said today it would not accept any new UN Security Council resolution that runs contrary to an agreement reached with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
“Iraq announces that it will not cooperate with a new resolution which is different from what has been agreed upon with the (UN) Secretary-General,” said a statement issued following a meeting of top Iraqi leaders chaired by President Saddam Hussein.
The statement carried by state-run Baghdad radio gave no details of the agreement Iraq had reached with Annan.
The US and Britain have stepped up pressure on the Security Council to adopt a tough new Iraq resolution before any resumption of UN arms inspections to search for weapons of mass destruction.
British UN ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock met the 10 non-permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council yesterday to lobby for a new resolution demanding unfettered access for the arms experts and spelling out the consequences if Baghdad failed to cooperate with the inspection teams.
Washington has threatened Baghdad with military action if it does not allow the unconditional return of the inspectors.
The Iraqi statement said the Iraqi move was in reaction to attempts by “American officials who are trying to issue bad resolutions through the UN Security Council”. Iraq agreed this week to the unconditional return of the UN arms inspectors, who left in December 1998, just before a US-British bombing blitz to punish Baghdad for its alleged failure to cooperate with them.
Russia and France, both permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto powers, have expressed doubt about the need for a new resolution, complicating US President George W. Bush’s desire for quick action against Baghdad.
Baghdad radio said today’s meeting was attended by Iraqi officials including Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan, deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Revolutionary Command Council member Ali Hassan al-Majeed and foreign minister Naji Sabri.
It said Sabri briefed the others on his participation at the UN General Assembly meetings.
Sabri delivered a speech by Saddam to the Assembly in which he declared Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and accused the US of fabricating excuses to attack his country.