Bush's clock runs fast....

Discussion in 'Politics' started by OPTIONAL777, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. Blix warns Iraq that it's "five minutes to midnight" and pleads for Iraq to produce evidence of weapons programs
    Tue Feb 4, 2:51 PM ET

    By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

    UNITED NATIONS - Warning Iraq that it's "five minutes to midnight," Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix pleaded with the Iraqi government Tuesday to show that it is actively cooperating during his visit this weekend by producing evidence about its weapons programs.

    He told a news conference that Baghdad should take seriously U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte's warning that the diplomatic window is closing and the prospect of military action is looming.

    "I don't think that the end is there — that a date has been set for an armed action," Blix said. "But I think that we're moving closer and closer to it, and therefore it seems to me that the Iraqi leadership must be well aware of that."

    But Blix said that so far the responses he has seen from the Iraqi government have not indicated that it is prepared to provide the critical information that he and nuclear inspection chief Mohamed ElBaradei are hoping for during their Feb. 8-9 visit to Baghdad.

    That visit takes place five days before their Feb. 14 report to the Security Council, which many diplomats consider to be critical in determining whether there will be war or peace in Iraq.

    "I'm pleading for Iraq to enter cooperation on substance," Blix said.

    "The essential point," he said, is for Iraq to assure inspectors and the Security Council "that it will actively seek and present any items or programs which are proscribed or else, if they are not there, to seek and present credible evidence for their absence."

    He suggested that the commission of inquiry that Iraq set up after inspectors discovered chemical warheads be given more power and be extended to search for biological weapons.

    Such a commission, he said, could "really look around the country and see what is hidden by whoever, and come up with it and also come up with a viable mechanism for providing evidence that they have not given us so far."

    "If they really give us hope that, yes, we'll have the same determination on the substance as they have undeniably been, largely, on the process — that would be the best thing that we would come away with," Blix said.

    But he warned that time was running out, even though he and others have said they would welcome more time for inspections.

    "Isn't there five minutes to midnight in your political assessment?," he asked reporters.

    A reporter then asked whether that was Blix's assessment.

    "Well certainly," he said. "We all know that the situation is very serious."