London, Nov. 25 (Reuters): British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned President Saddam Hussein today not to play a game of “hide and seek” with UN inspectors hunting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Speaking as the first group of 17 inspectors headed for Baghdad, Blair said Britain had no doubt Iraq was holding on to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and urged Saddam to make an “honest declaration” of prohibited weapons stocks.
Under a UN resolution passed earlier this month, Iraq has less than two weeks to give a full account of all weapons of mass destruction programmes.
“We have no doubt that he does have weapons of mass destruction,” Blair said.
“So let’s wait and see what he actually says. But I’ve made it clear throughout, this has got to be a situation in which there is an honest declaration by Saddam.” Blair said a false declaration would constitute a “material breach” of Resolution 1441 — widely understood as a trigger for US-led military action — but that it was up to the weapons inspectors to pass judgment.
The resolution obliges Baghdad to allow the inspectors unfettered access to every corner of the country.