Peter Beaumont /The Observer U.K. – 2004-06-09 09:55:15
(June 6, 2004) — Tony Blair was branded ‘delusional’ yesterday over his continued insistence that weapons of mass destruction might still be found in Iraq. The charge was made by the man who headed the hunt.
Following claims by the Prime Minister on Friday that the search might still turn up illegal weapons in Iraq, David Kay, who led the Iraq Survey Group after the invasion, insisted that the weapons did not exist, and called on Blair to apologize for being wrong.
‘Anyone out there holding — as I gather Prime Minister Blair has recently said — the prospect that ISG is going to unmask actual weapons of mass destruction is really delusional,’ he told the BBC.
‘It is amazing that occasionally they slip back into talking about it. The problem is the unwillingness to take the responsibility of saying a few simple words: “We were wrong”.
‘There is a program there. There was an intention of Saddam Hussein at some point to reconstitute it. There were clearly illegal activities, clear violations of UN Security Council resolutions. We have accumulated that evidence.’ But he reiterated: ‘There are not actual stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction.’
Kay’s remarks came as President George Bush said that he expected the UN Security Council would approve a new resolution guaranteeing the transfer of ‘full sovereignty’ to a new Iraqi interim government after 30 June. ‘I am confident we will get one soon,’ he said in a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi said he hoped the UN Security Council would pass a new resolution on Iraq this week. The United States and Britain have proposed giving Iraq’s new leaders the right to send foreign troops home, a concession Baghdad’s Foreign Minister said would speed up adoption of a resolution on Iraq’s future.
The two allies revised their draft resolution to give Iraq’s interim government authority to order the US-led multinational force to leave at any time. The latest draft resolution, the third in less than two weeks, also spelt out the limits on the new government’s activities, barring it from taking ‘any actions affecting Iraq’s destiny’ beyond the seven months in which it will be in power.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s new leader, Ayad Allawi, called for an end to attacks on foreign troops, adding that their rapid withdrawal would be a ‘major disaster’.
In his first televised address to Iraqis, Allawi called for a halt to attacks on Americans and other foreign soldiers, saying their presence would be needed to help the sovereign leadership improve security. ‘The targeting of the multinational forces under the leadership of the United States to force them to leave Iraq would inflict a major disaster on Iraq,’ he said.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.