UNITED NATIONS – Iraq's 12,000-page arms declaration details Baghdad's efforts to build biological weapons and includes a reference to a "terminated radiation bomb project," according to the document's table of contents, made public Monday.
A former weapons inspector, who reviewed the list, said it seemed to suggest the Iraqis were resubmitting old declarations about arms programs that ended in the wake of the Gulf War more than a decade ago. Inspectors have said Iraq's previous declarations were incomplete.
The nine-page table of contents was distributed by a U.S. official after Washington obtained the U.N. Security Council's copy of the complete 12,000-page declaration. The full declaration has not been released, and the United States shared it only with Russia, Britain, France and China.
In exchange for getting their own copies, the five council powers will provide weapons inspectors with experts and intelligence data that could help hasten a determination of whether Saddam Hussein is trying to rearm, diplomats told The Associated Press.
Other council members will only get an edited copy with sensitive material censored, an arrangement that has angered some members.
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Tuesday the bulk of the report consists of 3,000 pages that his teams plan to review by Friday. Blix spoke after briefing the Security Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan on his assessment of the declaration and how long his teams will need to translate and analyze it.
"I told the Council we hope that we have been through the main part of the document, about 3,000 pages, by Friday," Blix told a news conference. "The bottleneck is translation."
"In the best case, by Monday we will be able to have a working version of the main part that we can share with all the members of the council." He said that by next Thursday they expected to have "some preliminary views of the substance."
"What we are now dealing with is only to take out of the declaration things that could be risky from the point of view of proliferation," he said.
The table of contents is broken down into four sections: nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs. The table provides a glimpse of Iraq's account of its programs but it will take U.N. and American analysts some time before they can determine whether the declaration is complete.
In the declaration, Iraq asserts that it no longer has weapons of mass destruction or the means to deliver them.
According to the table of contents, some 2,100 pages are devoted to Iraq's nuclear program before 1991, and another 300 pages in Arabic detail current nuclear programs, which Baghdad says are civilian.
Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi, a senior adviser to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, said Sunday that Iraq may have been close to building an atomic bomb before 1991, but he said Baghdad no longer has such ambitions.
David Albright, an American who served on the nuclear inspections team in the 1990s, said the table of contents "seems to confirm that on the nuclear side, the declaration has been recycled. A lot of this is pre-1991," he said.
The chemical declaration is several thousand pages and begins with a chronology of Iraq's "former chemical weapons program." Sections dealing with the chemical program include: Research and development activities, the production of chemical agents, relations with companies and a terminated radiation bomb project.
The radiation bomb project was discovered during the previous inspections regime, which ended in 1998.
The biological declaration includes information on military institutions connected with the former biological weapons program, activities at a foot-and-mouth facility and a list of supporting documents.
The ballistic missile declaration is the briefest of the four sections and totals some 1,200 pages. Under U.N. Security Council resolutions, Iraq is banned from missiles with a range greater than 94 miles.
The table of contents was submitted to the Security Council in the form of a letter from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.
The complete report arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sunday. One copy is in the hands of weapons inspectors who have been combing through it for details. The other copy was taken Monday to Washington, where U.S. officials quickly duplicated the material and delivered it to the Russian, French, British and Chinese embassies there.
The deal for the distribution, reached late Sunday, outraged Syria because it reversed an agreement among council members Friday that would have let inspectors remove sensitive material — including possible recipes for bomb-making material — from the 12,000 page document before showing the report to anyone.
The United States had initially accepted that deal but changed its mind over the weekend and began consultations for a new arrangement.
Eventually, U.S. officials instructed Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the current Security Council president, to hand over the complete copy of the declaration, which to the astonishment of many in the U.N. halls, he did.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it would take some time to review the declaration and he called on Washington and others to be patient with inspectors.
"The inspectors will have to review them, analyze them and report to the council, and I think that's going to take a while."
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer withheld judgment on the massive documentation and said the United States would study the material "thoroughly, completely and fully and thoughtfully."
The real test will be the document's transparency, which could determine whether Iraq will face another war with the United States and its allies.
Under the terms of Security Council Resolution 1441, passed on Nov. 8, false statements or omissions in the declaration — or a failure to comply with inspections — would be a "material breach" of Iraq's obligations.
A breach could be enough for Washington to argue that military action is the only way to force Iraqi compliance.
Only after inspectors declare Iraq in compliance with U.N. resolutions can 12 years of crippling sanctions be suspended.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.