Britain Sees Iraq Report Confirmation of 'Material Breach'

Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix's inspection report on Iraq proved the country was in "material breach" of UN resolution 1441, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman was quoted as saying Friday.

Blix presented an update of the latest developments of arms inspection in Iraq at a high-level UN Security Council session which opened in New York on Friday, when he told the Council that Iraq's destruction of al-Samoud missiles has showed "a substantial measure of disarmament."

"Blix's report today confirms there is not full and immediate cooperation. That's why we believe that Saddam is in material breach of 1441," the spokesman told reporters.

"Cooperation is neither immediate or full as (UN resolution) 1441 demanded. It's only happening because of the presence of 200,000 (US and British) troops on Iraq's borders," the spokesman said.

"We are closer to the point of decision for both Saddam and the UN," he added.

However, the spokesman said the trigger for war has not been pulled because Britain and the United States are still going through the UN process.

Backed by the United States and Spain, Britain tabled a draft resolution on Iraq on Feb. 24, declaring that Iraq is not complying fully with UN resolutions and would face "serious consequences".

As France, Russia and Germany reaffirmed that they would not allow a draft resolution on Iraq to be adopted by the Security Council, Britain, the staunchest US ally on disarming Iraq, was forced Friday to circulate to the Security Council an amended draft resolution that sets a March 17 deadline for Iraq to comply with its obligations to disarm or face war.



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