Iraq will not withdraw its ban on spot arms inspections, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said Monday after a meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Iraq is seeking a comprehensive review of its relations with the United Nations. Aziz was apparently told at the meeting that Iraq must rescind the ban before any broad review is undertaken.The ban has already led the Security Council to suspend its regular reviews of the economic sanctions it has maintained against Iraq since 1990.
After the hourlong meeting, the deputy prime minister repeated that Iraq had already complied with Security Council resolutions and that the sanctions should be lifted.
"Therefore the idea that Iraq should do this or that concession before the comprehensive review takes place is not legal and not logical," a visibly annoyed Aziz told reporters. He is expected to meet with Security Council members during the week and return for another session with Annan on Friday.
Hanging over these talks is an Iraqi threat to stop all cooperation with the inspectors. That would effectively shut down the most ambitious arms monitoring system ever established in a country that had violated international law.