UN Food Agency Warns of Iraqi Humanitarian Crisis
Blix Says More Information Received from Iraq
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iraq has informed inspectors of the discovery of handwritten documents dealing with the disposal of weapons of mass destruction in 1991. Dr. Blix says Iraq has also informed of the discovery of an R-400 bomb containing liquid, in an area where Baghdad has disposed of biological weapons in the past. He describes the new disclosures, as "positive elements which need to be explored further." Dr. Blix also defends the inspections, saying the inspectors are not working to a deadline:
"It's not right to say that we are asking for an extension of our work, the council's resolutions do not set a deadline. It can terminate them, it can say that you must finish by such and such a time or we can of course be forced to finish by events on the ground."
Dr. Blix made his comments before meeting with the College of Commissioners - an advisory panel of disarmament experts.
United Kingdom, United States and Spain Present New Draft Resolution on Iraq
The United Kingdom presented a draft resolution to the Security Council late Monday, declaring that Iraq missed its chance to peacefully disarm. The one-page draft, submitted by the United States, Britain and Spain, didn't set any deadlines. British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock told reporters there's no need to renegotiate resolution 1441 that sent weapons inspectors back to Baghdad. But he said this new resolution is just a further step:
"But we want the UN to remain its framework for the complete disarmament of Iraq. And therefore there needs to be a clear decision by the council that Iraq's response is inadequate to resolution 1441."
France, Russia and Germany Circulate Plan for Peaceful Disarmament of Iraq
Meanwhile, most council members are pushing for continued inspections. On Monday, France, Russia and Germany circulated a plan to pursue a peaceful disarmament of Iraq through strengthened inspections. The representative of Germany Ambassador, Gunter Pleuger, said the plan aims to increase pressure on Iraq to comply with the resolutions:
"We don't see how you can argue that we stop the process of inspection before we have even used all the possibilities that we in the Security Council have decided."
WFP Warns of Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq
The UN food agency (WFP) warned Tuesday that a US-led invasion of Iraq might disrupt government food handouts to millions of Iraqis and lead to a wide- scale humanitarian crisis. The WFP representative in Iraq, Torben Due, said there is a very substantial part of the Iraqi population dependent on food distribution and if the system breaks down, there will be a major humanitarian crisis. Due said the majority of Iraqis, impoverished by 12 years of sanctions, solely depend on government food handouts every month. The sanctions were imposed after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.