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Straw: Report shows Iraqi action 'justified'

Straw: Report shows Iraqi action 'justified and essential'

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) interim report provides "further conclusive and incontrovertible evidence" that the Iraqi regime was in breach of United Nations Resolution 1441.

The Foreign Secretary said that the report contains compelling evidence of concealment. "One scientist hid a vial containing botulinum and has identified a large cache of biological agents he refused to conceal," Mr Straw said.

The ISG has discovered "dozens of WMD-related programme activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002". These include:

a clandestine network of laboratories within the Iraqi intelligence service suitable for chemical and biological weapons research;

strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which could be used to produce biological weapons;

new research on Biological Weapons applicable agents;

clandestine attempts to obtain technology and missiles from North Korea.

The report from David Kay, head of the ISG, says that Saddam Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. Evidence from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials was that the programme would resume after Iraq was free of sanctions.

The report confirms how dangerous and deceitful the regime was, and how the military action was justified and essential, said Mr Straw.

"The Iraq Survey Group report is an interim report, produced in three months in difficult circumstances. As the report says, it is too early to reach conclusions. But it contains much information which should on any objective judgement lead to the conclusion that the Saddam regime was employed in a wide-range of illegal activities in contravention of categorical UN obligations."

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