UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations joined the United States and Britain on Thursday in saying that Saddam Hussein is still not cooperating fully with U.N. inspectors despite Iraq's go-ahead for surveillance flights and hand-over of new lists of scientists.
U.N., U.S., and British officials said Iraq still has not provided evidence to answer outstanding questions about its nuclear, chemical, biological and long-range missile programs.
"Clearly Iraq needs to do more by way of cooperating, particularly on unresolved disarmament issues, which are clearly issues of substance," said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix.
With Washington and London pressing for U.N. authorization for military action against Iraq, the issue of Saddam's compliance with the last U.N. resolution giving Baghdad a final opportunity to answer outstanding questions and disarm peacefully is critical.
A U.S. official in Washington said a new resolution that would give a green light to use military force was expected to be presented to the Security Council on Monday but that it could slip a day or two. A British diplomat at the United Nations said the resolution was expected early next week.
Britain's U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said he expects Blix and nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei to brief the council before a vote. Diplomats and U.N. officials said March 7 has been "penciled in" as a likely date for the briefing.
Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri on Thursday reiterated the pledge he made to the council a day earlier at the end of a two-day meeting on the Iraqi crisis: The government is doing "the utmost" to fully cooperate with U.N. inspectors.
Since Blix and ElBaradei gave their last report to the Security Council on Friday, Al-Douri said his government has sent letters to Blix asking when surveillance flights by French Mirage aircraft and Russian Antonovs will begin and following up on an offer to let U.N. experts analyze the ground where anthrax and VX nerve agent were destroyed.
An American U-2 spy plane flew over Iraq on Monday for the first time in support of the U.N. inspectors, and Iraq said a second U-2 flight took place on Thursday.
"We would like to have the other aircraft carrying out surveillance in Iraq, too, like the U-2," Al-Douri told The Associated Press.
Iraq also gave U.N. inspectors the names of people who took part in the destruction of banned materials from its biological weapons and missile programs in the early 1990s, Buchanan said.
"Those lists are being studied, and clearly might be potential names for interviews," he said.
In his report to the council Friday, Blix said Iraq had presented a list of 83 participants "in the unilateral destruction in the chemical field, which took place in the summer of 1991." He asked Iraq for a similar list of people who took part in the destruction of other banned items, especially in the biological field.
Al-Douri said Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri also sent a 22-page letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan refuting allegations by Secretary of State Colin Powell that Iraq has hidden weapons of mass destruction and links with Ansar al-Islam, which has been linked to Al Qaeda terrorists.
In his presentation to the Security Council on Feb. 5, Powell displayed satellite pictures and intercepted telephone conversations that he said showed Baghdad cleaning up suspected weapons sites days before inspectors were to show up.
Al-Douri insisted that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction so nobody -- including U.N. inspectors -- will find any hidden caches "because we don't have these things."
But Britain's Greenstock said Iraq is still not cooperating "on substance," though it was allowing surveillance flights and had turned over new lists of people who might be interviewed.
"What we need ... is voluntary disarmament," Greenstock said. "We know what it is when a country intends to disarm and comes to use the instrument of inspectors to disarm. That is not happening."
"It's clear that the Iraqis are not interested in real cooperation," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. "They continue to deceive, deny, and obstruct. We still want to know: Where is the 26,000 liters of anthrax? Where is the VX? Where are the missiles?"
Grenell said Iraq was also not cooperating in arranging private U.N. interviews with Iraqi scientists, a violation of the last U.N. resolution.
The only three scientists interviewed privately by inspectors were recommended by the Iraqis, but not a single scientist recommended by U.N. inspectors had agreed to a private interview, he said.