- After its agreement with the UN Secretary
General, Iraq has called for western military forces to withdraw from the
- The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq
Aziz, said it was time for United States and Britain to pull out their
forces out of the region.
- But as the man who brokered a last-minute
deal with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made his call, the US announced
it was sending more troops to the region.
- Mr Aziz said Iraq would honour the weapons
deal agreed with Mr Annan. But he said that in return the US and Britain
should withdraw the military forces stationed in the Gulf.
- "I think they have made a grave
mistake by this military build-up because the matter did not need military
force," he said.
- "It is time for them to think wisely
and to withdraw their forces and let the region live in calm and peace."
- Mr Aziz urged the Mr Annan to send new
inspectors to begin visits to presidential palaces as soon as possible.
- "We have committed ourselves,"
said Mr Aziz, who signed the agreement on Monday on behalf of the Iraqi
Government. "We gave our word and want them to do it."
- The agreement calls for the UN to designate
ambassadors and UN experts to visit presidential palaces.
- US sticks to tough line
- But while Iraq called for the weapons
inspection to start as soon as possible, President Clinton signed orders
bolstering US forces in the Gulf.
- The US is sending 500 extra reserve troops
to the region to join more than 30,000 Americans already stationed in and
around the Gulf.
- President Clinton reiterated the line
he gave after Mr Annan announced the deal on Monday, saying the US will
watch Iraq closely to ensure it complied with all the UN resolutions regarding
- While US leaders continue to scrutinise
the detail of the deal thrashed out by the secretary general, a special
session of the Iraqi national assembly has been planned for Thursday with
the weapons inspections likely to be at the top of the agenda.
- While diplomatic tension still exists
in the region, the UN showed its confidence in the Annan-Aziz agreement
with the restart of its humanitarian operations in Iraq.
- Denis Halliday, head of UN aid in the
country, said that his team of 60, evacuated to Jordan last week, would
return to Iraq on Thursday.
- Mr Annan is continuing talks with Security
Council members during the week.
- He has described the initial responses
of the Security Council as "very satisfactory."