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Arms Inspectors Hopeful as They Land in Iraq

Arms Inspectors Hopeful as They Land in Iraq
Last-Ditch Effort to Avoid Conflict

BAGHDAD, Iraq, NOV. 18, 2002 ( The return of U.N. arms inspectors to Iraq raised hopes for peace between the United States and Saddam Hussein's regime.

A plane carrying, among others, chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix of Sweden, landed this morning at Saddam Hussein International Airport, the Associated Press reported.

In the United States, Catholic bishops have expressed hope that war with Iraq would be avoided. ''I would hope that all of us are against a war in Iraq,'' Bishop Walter Sullivan of Richmond, in Virginia, told the Boston Globe.

According to a report, Blix said upon landing: "We have come here for one single reason and that is because the world wants to have assurances that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. ... The situation is tense at the moment, but there is a new opportunity and we are here to provide inspection which is credible."

In an official statement released last Thursday, the American bishops said they "welcome the fact that the United States has worked to gain new action by the U.N. Security Council to ensure that Iraq meets its obligation to disarm." The prelates said they "join others in urging Iraq to comply fully with this latest Security Council resolution."

However, the same statement also urged "that our nation and the world continue to pursue actively alternatives to war in the Middle East" and stated that "resort to war, under present circumstances and in light of current public information, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against the use of military force."

As Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., told the Globe: "For a just war, you have to have X, Y and Z, and at the present time, it does not seem to me that we have X, Y and Z.''

The U.S. administration continued to express skepticism regarding Iraq's intentions, and President George W. Bush has warned that any failure on Iraq's part to cooperate with the inspectors would bring on an American attack.


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