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Blix To UN: No WMDs Found In Iraq

UNITED NATIONS, New York --- Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has agreed in part with the United States that Iraq failed to declare suspected mobile biological arms laboratories and did not account for its entire stock of anthrax.

In his final report submitted to the Security Council, Mr. Blix writes U.N. arms experts found no evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But, he says inspectors had many leads to pursue about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programs when their search was suspended prior to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Mr. Blix, head of the U.N.'s Monitoring and Verification Commission, or UNMOVIC, says Saddam Hussein's government did not declare the mobile laboratories that Washington says were used to make biological weapons. The Bush administration recently released photographs of at least two suspected laboratory trucks to the public.

In the report, Mr. Blix writes: "None of the types of mobile laboratories described in the media in April-May 2003 as found in Iraq matched the description of mobile facilities provided by Iraq."

In the 40-page document, Mr. Blix also says that Baghdad never resolved the total quantity of anthrax it produced and destroyed. UNMOVIC officials were also dissatisfied with Iraqi data on the deadly nerve gas VX.

Although Mr. Blix is scheduled to leave his post at the end of this month, he says his inspection team is ready to return to Iraq within two weeks. He called on the council to continue UNMOVIC's mission and take advantage of its broad knowledge of Iraqi weapons programs, sites and personnel.

The majority of the Security Council favors a resumption of U.N.-led inspections. But the United States opposes the return of UNMOVIC inspectors. In the report, Mr. Blix says that since the end of the war, the United States and Britain have ignored his commission.

However, British diplomats have said they have not ruled out a possible U.N. role in the hunt for Iraqi biological and chemical weapons.

The Security Council is expected to discuss the final Blix report this month. In a recently adopted resolution lifting economic sanctions against Iraq, the Security Council expressed its intention to revisit the issue of U.N. arms inspectors.

-ends- Blix Report: No Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq