The chief U.N. arms inspector accused Iraq on Friday of a "propaganda effort" aimed at undercutting his mission to find and destroy the country's weapons of mass destruction.
At a news conference in New York, Richard Butler said he will meet with Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, in Baghdad on March 22 and that inspections of Iraq's eight presidential palaces, once closed to inspectors, would start soon afterward."We will continue until we have done all of them," said Butler, who heads the U.N. Special Commission.
Also Friday, Butler said in an interview broadcast on BBC-TV's "Hardline" program that inspectors were not satisfied that Iraq has revealed everything about its chemical weapons, especially "the black hole that is their biological program."
U.N. inspectors must certify that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction before trade sanctions, imposed after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, can be lifted.
In the BBC interview, which was monitored in Baghdad, Butler accused Iraq of using propaganda to try to get its allies on the U.N. Security Council to restrain the U.N. inspectors.
"Something very serious is happening here," Butler said. "The issue is Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But suddenly what we were . . . starting to hear people say (was), why don't we have a debate about UNSCOM?"
He repeated the phrase "propaganda effort" when talking about the recent crisis over inspections of presidential compounds - which prompted the United States and Britain to move ships to the Persian Gulf and to threaten military strikes.
"The Iraqis were extremely successful in their propaganda effort," he said. "Witness the palaces fiasco."
He complained that Iraq had succeeded in getting the media to report that inspectors wanted access to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's palaces.