Europe Tests Defy US
Army Claims Of VX Nerve
Gas In Iraqi Warheads
LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A London-based newspaper reported on Thursday that tests conducted in Europe to determine whether Iraqi missiles were armed with a deadly gas before the 1991 Gulf War have shown the warheads did not contain the VX chemical agent. Al-Hayat daily said it learned from diplomatic sources that ``Switzerland and France have unofficially informed officials in Iraq and at the United Nations secretariate that most of tests of the samples of the Iraqi warheads...showed they were free of the VX agent.'' The sources, asserting that the results were not yet complete, said the results contradicted conclusions reached by U.S. laboratories, al-Hayat reported. U.N. weapons Inspector Richard Butler requested the analysis after Iraq disputed the findings of a first series of tests carried out in July by a U.S. Army laboratory. In Paris, a foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the analysis by a private French laboratory had been completed and the results sent on to the United Nations Special Commission. But he refused to disclose the findings or to comment on the al-Hayat report. ``UNSCOM asked for the analysis, and it is up to UNSCOM to decide what to do with the results,'' the spokesman said. Al-Hayat reported that high-ranking sources involved with the Iraqi weapons file as saying that the findings were likely to embarass the United States. Iraq and the United Nations seem set on a collision course over arms inspections after the U.N. Security Council resolution decided to suspended its regular review of sanctions imposed on Baghdad after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. On Wednesday Baghdad threatened to halt all activities by U.N. inspectors unless the Security Council cancelled the resolution. The U.S. State Department warned Iraq against ceasing cooperation with the inspection team.