22 December 2002
U.N. weapons inspectors began their 23rd day of work Sunday with Iraqi newspapers accusing the United States and Britain of interfering in the inspection process.
Iraqi newspapers accuse the United States and Britain of "criminal schemes" aimed at dividing and destroying Iraq for the purpose of seizing control of the country's vast oil supplies.
The newspaper owned by President Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, also accused the two countries of "shameless lies" regarding Iraq's weapons systems and of interfering in the work of the U.N. weapons inspection teams.
Iraq insists it has no weapons of mass destruction, and one newspaper said "no human being can prove the existence of something that does not exist."
U.N. weapons inspectors are hunting for banned nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons at numerous locations, including a facility dedicated to space research, a missile complex, biological and military facilities, a plant that makes chemical detergents, and a company that produces mineral water.
U.S. officials have been quoted as saying they are sharing intelligence information, including satellite photographs, with the inspection teams regarding the location of suspected weapons sites.
U.N. officials have been urging the United States and Britain to supply all information they have. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix says both countries have given briefings on what kinds of weapons they think Iraq has, but said the weapons inspectors need information leading to specific locations.
Since returning to Iraq last month, weapons inspectors have visited dozens of suspected weapons sites and say they have found no banned weapons systems.