UN suspends new weapons inspections in Iraq, keeps monitoring

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — The United Nations has suspended new inspections of Iraqi arms sites in response to Baghdad’s refusal to cooperate with weapons monitors, a U.N. official said Sunday.
The arms inspectors will continue to monitor sites that already have been searched — because Iraq has agreed to that — said Janet Sullivan, spokeswoman for the U.N. program. But new inspections, which often involve surprise visits, were being put off “in light of the present situation.”
Iraq, which is pressing hard for an end to eight-year U.N. economic sanctions, announced last week that it would no longer cooperate with arms inspectors entrusted with ensuring that Baghdad has dismantled its weapons program. The Security Council called the move “totally unacceptable,” but urged more negotiations and suggested it was open to easing the strictures.
Meanwhile, the daily Al-Thawra of the ruling Baath Party said in an editorial published Sunday that Iraq would accept nothing short of an end to sanctions.
Under the terms of a U.N. resolution adopted following Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the current ban on Iraqi exports is to be lifted only after U.N. experts declare that Baghdad has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction and the means to make such armaments.
The sanctions include a ban on the free export of Iraq’s oil, its most profitable commodity