News


DATE=2/20/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-227058
TITLE=IRAQ ANNAN ARRIVAL (L)
BYLINE=MAX RUSTON
DATELINE=BAGHDAD IRAQ
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL KOFFI ANNAN HAS ARRIVED 
IN THE IRAQI CAPITOL, BAGHDAD, AND HE SAYS HE IS REASONABLY 
OPTIMISTIC HE WILL SUCCEED IN NEGOTIATING A PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO 
THE STANDOFF OVER THE INSPECTION OF WEAPON SITES.  V-O-A 
CORRESPONDENT MAX RUSTON REPORTS FROM BAGHDAD.

TEXT:  ON HIS ARRIVAL IN BAGHDAD MR. ANNAN EXPRESSED OPTIMISM 
ABOUT THE TALKS AHEAD OF HIM BUT DID  NOT  PROVIDE ANY SPECIFIC 
REASONS FOR HIS OPTIMISM.  HE WAS GREETED BY ABOUT A DOZEN SENIOR
IRAQI OFFICIALS, INCLUDING DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TARIQ AZIZ, WHO 
REMINDED MR. ANNAN THAT BAGHDAD WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY SOLUTION THAT
FAILS TO PROTECT WHAT HE CALLED THE SOVEREIGNTY AND DIGNITY OF 
IRAQ. 

MR. ANNAN IS SCHEDULED TO HOLD TALKS WITH IRAQI OFFICIALS MOST OF
THE DAY SATURDAY.   U.N. OFFICIALS SAY THEY EXPECT HIM TO ALSO 
MEET WITH IRAQI PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN BUT NO TIME OR VENUE FOR
THAT MEETING HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED.

MR. ANNAN'S TALKS WILL FOCUS ON CONVINCING IRAQ TO ACCEPT U.N. 
WEAPONS INSPECTIONS. THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER COUNTRIES SAY 
THEY WILL LAUNCH MILITARY STRIKES AGAINST THE COUNTRY, IF AN 
AGREEMENT IS NOT REACHED.  MR. ANNAN IS EXPECTED TO PROPOSE THAT 
IRAQ ACCEPT MEASURES THAT WOULD GIVE THE UNSCOM WEAPONS 
INSPECTION TEAM A DIFFERENT LOOK BUT NOT CHANGE ITS CORE 
PERSONNEL OR MISSION.  THE UNITED STATES SAYS IT WILL REJECT ANY 
PROPOSED SOLUTION THAT DOES  NOT  ALLOW WHAT IT DESCRIBES AS FREE
AND UNFETTERED ACCESS TO ALL IRAQI WEAPONS SITES.

U.N. OFFICIALS ON FRIDAY RELEASED INFORMATION THAT MAY INDICATE 
SOME UNEXPECTED FLEXIBILITY ON THE IRAQI SIDE.  THEY SAID OVER 
THE LAST WEEK IRAQ HAS ALLOWED SOME UNSCOM WEAPONS INSPECTORS 
INTO MANY OF SPECIAL SITES, MOSTLY PRESIDENTIAL PALACES, THAT 
IRAQ HAS FORBIDDEN UNSCOM TO FORMALLY ENTER.  THE UNSCOM MEMBERS 
WERE ATTACHED AS TECHNICAL EXPERTS TO A SPECIAL MAPPING TEAM SENT
TO IRAQ BY MR. ANNAN OVER THE LAST WEEK. 

THE TEAM FINISHED ITS WORK MAPPING EIGHT CLOSED PRESIDENTIAL 
SITES ON WEDNESDAY AND SENT ITS FINDINGS TO MR. ANNAN ON 
THURSDAY.  NO DATE FOR U.N. SECRETARIAL GENERALS DEPARTURE FROM 
BAGHDAD HAS BEEN SET.  U.N. OFFICIALS SAY THEY HOPE HE WILL BE 
ABLE TO SECURE A DEAL BY THE END OF SATURDAY, BUT THEY DO NOT 
RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT TALKS WILL CONTINUE ON SUNDAY OR 
EVEN INTO THE NEXT WEEK.  (SIGNED)

NEB/MR/WDC/KL  

20-Feb-98 2:13 PM EST (1913 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.