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No excuse for war now, Iraq says

No excuse for war now, Iraq says

Baghdad, Sept. 18, INA

Iraq has removed any excuse for a US-led war by agreeing to new UN weapons inspections, Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said on Tuesday. "The excuse used to launch an aggression has been totally blocked," Aziz told a gathering of foreign political supporters in Baghdad.

"They (the Americans) thought Iraq wouldn't take such a courageous decision," as accepting the return of UN arms inspectors, Aziz said.

"We are ready to work with the UN secretary general to apply our decision, Aziz said, stressing Baghdad's sincerity.

"It is not in the nature of the leadership and people of Iraq to opt for tactics and manoeuvres in fundamental issues," Aziz said. Washington's reaction was indicative of the US-British campaign for the return of UN arms inspectors, which was "based on lies and pretexts," he said.

"Immediately after the announcement by Baghdad, the White House rejected the decision," Aziz said. Washington "has been shocked by this courageous decision," he said. "We are serious and ready to assume responsibilities. We are completely ready to cooperate with the United Nations."

Aziz added, "all weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have been completely destroyed. Even tools and buildings housing equipment have been destroyed." The minister also accused US President George W. Bush of "wanting to make Iraq a new Afghanistan."

"The United States wants to control Iraqi oil (but) it will not be able to achieve that by installing a government in its pay,"

By accepting the return of inspectors, Baghdad was responding to repeated requests from "Arab and friendly" countries, Aziz said.

ENDS

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