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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq to Submit New Report on Anthrax

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The United Nations said Monday that more of Iraq's al-Samoud 2 missiles were being scrapped and that Iraq would submit a new report on VX nerve gas and anthrax stocks in a week's time in its bid to avert war.

"Iraq will be providing a report on the VX and anthrax in a week's time," said Hiro Ueki, spokesman for UN weapons inspectors in Baghdad.

Ueki said destruction of al-Samoud 2 missiles, 10 of which were destroyed over the weekend, was continuing Monday and that the missile casting chambers were also being demolished.

"The destruction of al-Samoud 2 missiles as well as casting chambers is continuing. We think by tomorrow the destruction of the casting chambers would be completed," Ueki said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov said Monday that Iraq's destruction of the missiles is evidence that inspections are working and should be continued, Itar-Tass reported.

A senior Iraqi Information Ministry official, Uday al-Taei, told reporters that the process of destroying between seven and nine missiles had started at Taji base, 40 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Baghdad began destroying some 120 al-Samoud 2 missiles Saturday -- the deadline set by Blix.

A total of 10 missiles, whose range Blix says exceeds the 150-kilometer limit allowed by UN resolutions, were scrapped over the weekend.

Saadi said Iraq would stop destroying them if Washington pressed ahead with plans to invade Iraq without explicit authority from the United Nations.

Iraqi authorities decided not to release pictures or television footage of the destruction process -- despite the impact on world public opinion -- because it was "too harsh" and "unacceptable" for the Iraqi people to see, Saadi said.

Iraq held talks with UN arms experts Sunday to discuss Iraq's proposal for "quantative verification" of VX and anthrax that Baghdad said it had unilaterally destroyed.

A key adviser to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, General Amer al-Saadi, said Sunday excavations carried out in recent weeks at sites near Baghdad proved that Iraq had destroyed "important quantities" of the banned VX and anthrax substances.

"There are some difficulties involved in quantifying such amount, but we will see when they produce a more detailed report whether their methodology can be considered useful," said UN spokesman Ueki.

Blix, who will make a crucial report Friday to the UN Security Council on Iraqi compliance, said destruction of the al-Samoud 2 missiles would be "a significant piece of real disarmament."

Ueki said the inspectors had seen "signs of cooperation in several areas" from the Iraqi side.

But he added that Blix would make "an overall assessment of Iraq's cooperation."