Monitor: The breakdown of Iraq's disclosure pledge to the UN

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The Independent Culture
THE UN and Iraq have reached another impasse over inspections for weapons of mass destruction. Cooperation between the two sides has dwindled, bringing the UN operation to a grinding halt. It is a deplorable situation for the world and especially the Iraqi people: in the absence of cooperation, the United States may again feel compelled to attack Iraq for non-compliance. Clearly, Saddam must allow the UN workers to finish their job. The UN must also remember that the prolonged sanctions hurt the Iraqi people more that anyone else. Both sides must overcome this impasse before its consequences overcome them.

Gulf Times, UAE

APART FROM Iraq and the wider Arab world, more and more countries feel that punishing the Iraqi people for more than seven years, essentially for American strategic objectives, is both cruel and unjustified. The Iraqi authorities are aware that the world public's sympathy is even more emphatically with them - there is merit in making the world aware yet again that the inspection regime never ends and Iraqis are dying of malnutrition and lack of medicines in the meantime.

Khaleej Times, Dubai

THE CHALLENGE the Iraqi leader is making to the UN and to the peace and security of his region has become familiar during the eight years since the Gulf War. It deserves an uncompromising response: Iraq must respect its obligation to make good on its disclosure and dismantlement pledges to the United Nations. As for Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, the prestige of his office is at stake - not to mention that of his American sponsors.

Washington Post

THE AMERICAN and British position may be bolstered in the short term, if Iraq provokes a new crisis at a time when its supporters on the Security Council think they might be close to relaxing sanctions. But some say experts say that Iraq may be gambling that another confrontation will leave Washington even more isolated in the long run, as calls increase in the Middle East for an end to the crippling sanctions that have failed to bring down Mr Saddam.

Herald Tribune