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Focus Shifts To Inspectors, Sanctions

Iraq dismissed on as "unnecessary" a U.N. draft resolution warning it to comply with a deal to open up its presidential sites to inspectors, as neighboring Arab states began aid missions to the nation.

Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid said the British draft resolution was redundant, because the deal set up by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was a cast-iron accord. The latest resolution described severe consequences if Baghdad obstructs inspections.

Rashid, a top Iraqi negotiator with U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspectors, told a news conference in Bagdad that the accord "has the power of law. It does not need any endorsement."

Meanwhile in a show of solidarity for the Iraqi people, neighboring Arab states began sending food, medicine, and clothing to Iraq. An Egyptian plane carrying 30 tons of medicine and children's food arrived in Baghdad Sunday, and several trucks carrying medicine and clothing arrived in Iraq from the United Arab Emirates.

One official with the Egyptian delegation said the mission was meant to send a message of Arab solidarity to the U.S. and Israel.

Annan sealed a last-minute accord with Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Monday to allow U.N. inspectors access to eight presidential sites, where U.N. weapons inspectors believe Iraq could be hiding prohibited weapons materials.

The agreement averted threatened U.S.-led military strikes on Iraq. Although the U.S. has welcomed the agreement, it has maintained its forces in the Gulf region.

Chief weapons inspector Richard Butler on Friday rejected speculation that his authority would be undermined by the weekend agreement the U.N. reached with Iraq, calling for diplomats to accompany inspectors on their visits.

Butler said that UNSCOM would remain in charge of inspections and scientific analysis.

"What's different? We'll have some diplomatic observers with us to make sure that both sides - not just UNSCOM, but Iraq, too - behave in an appropriate manner in these special sites," Butler said. "I think that's fine."

Although Rashid said Saturday that Iraq had "no personal feelings" against Butler, he warned of "problems" that might develop unless UNSCOM inspectors carried out their tasks in line with U.N. resolutions.

"The condition is very simple. UNSCOM has to behave according to U.N. standards," he said. "When they yield to pressure from some sources in the American administration...we will have problems."

CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey said Friday that the inspectors are facing fire, not only from Iraqis, but on other fronts as well.

Annan reportedly referred to them as "cowboys" and one non-Iraqi source accused some inspectors of deliberately provokig incidents, Pizzey said.

Sources within the inspection team admitted to Pizzey that some inspectors have had to be "brought back into line" but they claimed that conduct overall has been professional.

Rasheed expressed frustration that Iraq was still waiting for special equipment to be sent out to verify its statements that it had destroyed all 79 "special warheads," capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads.

"Because it is in the interest of the Iraqi side, now we have been waiting for more than two weeks...If it was a claim [over] a presidential site, or any claim by the United States, they would have sent a team in 48 hours."
He accused Britain and the United States of wanting to break Iraq" and seeking to "control the oilfields in the area.

No date has been set for visits to the presidential sites by the inspectors, who have been continuing their regular inspections and monitoring work throughout the crisis.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP and Reuters contributed to this report

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