An Iraqi newspaper accused the United States on Monday of trying to manufacture a new crisis between Iraq and U.N. weapons inspectors over alleged weapons of mass destruction.

"The statement made by American Defense Secretary William Cohen in Turkey shows that (President) Clinton's administration is heading toward manufacturing a new crisis," the ruling Baath party newspaper al-Thawra said.The paper said that Iraq had met all its obligations in terms of U.N. resolutions on the 1991 gulf war and the Security Council should lift its trade embargo imposed in response to Baghdad's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

On Tuesday, Cohen visited Turkey's Incirlik air base where U.S. warplanes police a "no-fly" zone over northern Iraq and said the world must maintain pressure on Iraq over its alleged arsenal of chemical and biological weapons.

Cohen spoke after a U.N. report said inspectors had made virtually no progress over the past six months in verifying that Iraq had destroyed any remaining weapons of mass destruction.

Al-Thawra said Cohen's statement and those of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and chief U.N. arms inspector Richard Butler proved that there were "wicked American intentions to create a new crisis."

Butler, an Australian diplomat heading the U.N. Special Commission charged with disarming Iraq, said in the report, to be submitted to the Security Council, that his inspectors had made "virtually no progress" in six months.