INTERNATIONAL

Baghdad weighs response to U.N.

MANAMA (BAHRAIN) Nov. 9. Declining to outrightly reject Friday's United Nations Security Council decision seeking to disarm Iraq, Baghdad has said that it would react to the Resolution in the next few days.

``Despite that the Resolution 1441 adopted by the Security Council is bad and unjust, the leadership of Iraq is studying it calmly and will take the necessary decision in the next few days,'' the Iraqi News Agency (INA) said, quoting an official. The 15-member Security Council on Friday unanimously approved the Resolution, giving Iraq a last chance to give up its mass destruction weapons or face severe consequences. Baghdad has been asked to declare its response to the U.N. decision within a week.

Signalling that Iraq may not reject the demand, the newspaper Babel, run by Uday, son of the President, Saddam Hussein, said the Resolution gave the Bush administration an opening to interfere in the work of the weapons inspectors, adding that Washington was still seeking "an excuse to launch its aggression against Iraq.'' However, it added that Iraq would permit inspectors to enter the country. "Iraq has nothing to conceal and U.N. weapons inspectors are welcome'', the newspaper added. Elaborating, Babel observed, "Our wise leadership, known for it shrewdness, would make President Bush's administration miss the opportunity to exploit any situation to attack and would eventually change the bad and evil intentions of America.''

Under the Resolution, co-sponsored by the United States and Britain, U.N. arms inspectors will have "immediate, unimpeded and unconditional'' rights to scout for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, including Mr. Hussein's presidential compounds.

Babel also strongly criticised Syria that had earlier appeared to be siding with Iraq, for joining the U.N. bandwagon. The Iraqi Government, over the last week, had indicated that it would be ready to accept a tough new U.N. Resolution seeking intrusive inspections, provided it was not attacked. According to the State-run Iraq Daily newspaper, Mr. Hussein had said on Monday that he would "take into consideration'' a U.N. Resolution as long as it did not serve as an excuse for a U.S. military strike.

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