Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Canada appears to be moving closer to acceptance of tough measures, if necessary.

Canada on Tuesday rapped what it described as "unacceptable" limitations imposed upon U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq and expressed serious concern about Baghdad's compliance with some of its obligations to disarm.

Foreign ministry officials said information gathered by Canadian intelligence agencies fully backed chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who last week told the United Nations that Iraq was still not cooperating fully.

Jill Sinclair, the ministry's director-general in charge of policy, told the parliamentary foreign affairs committee that interviews with Iraqi scientists were not going smoothly.

"The interviewees continue to insist on taping their interviews for their own protection from Iraqi authorities. This procedure is unacceptable in terms of being able to secure freely information required by inspectors," she said.

Sinclair also criticized Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for demanding Britain and the United States suspend their patrols over "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq before U-2 surveillance planes could start flying over the country.

"In our view this is an unacceptable condition placed by Iraq on such flights," said Sinclair.

"We have serious concerns regarding Iraq's compliance with its disarmament obligations in this regard," she said. Baghdad says it destroyed the stocks but critics complain there is insufficient evidence to back up this assertion.

Asked whether Iraq could have destroyed the stocks, she replied: "I think it's entirely possible and I think that's why -- as Dr Blix has said -- the inspectors need to take samples and speak to people...there are a lot of unanswered questions which could be answered with full cooperation."

Foreign Minister Bill Graham, responding to the report by Blix, said last Friday that time was running out for Iraq to show it was serious about complying with a series of United Nations resolutions insisting it disarm.

< email | 2/18/2003 03:33:00 PM | link

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