U.N. envoy urges Iraq to cooperate with arms monitors

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — An envoy of U.N. chief Kofi Annan urged the Iraqi leadership Thursday to change its mind and agree to cooperate with arms monitors in their ongoing inspections of Iraq’s banned weapons sites.
Prakash Shah met for more than an hour with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on Thursday night to try to defuse the latest crisis over weapons inspections that began several years ago.
Prakash said he delivered a message from Annan to the Iraqi leadership, stressing that Iraq must cooperate with weapons inspectors. Aziz and the U.N. envoy agreed to continue holding talks, Prakash told reporters after the meeting.
At the United Nations in New York, the Security Council postponed any formal show of support Thursday morning for U.N. weapons inspectors despite recent complaints from head monitors that their work was being undermined by Iraq’s decision to freeze cooperation.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced on Aug. 5 that Iraq was banning new site inspections, but said long-term monitoring activities — most conducted by surveillance cameras and air-testing equipment — could continue.
Saddam’s declaration came after Butler said during a visit to Baghdad last week that he could not certify Iraq had complied with U.N. resolutions calling for the destruction of its weapons. The U.N. Special Commission, which oversees the inspections, is charged with ensuring that Iraq eliminates its biological and chemical weapons and long-range missiles.