Iraq scorns UN 'threats'

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq said yesterday it would 'face the consequences' of its decision to bar UN weapons inspectors from its Agriculture Ministry, ahead of a possible UN Security Council ultimatum. The Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, quoted by the Iraqi news agency, said: 'Threats will change nothing.' He repeated that Iraq would 'reject any demand that attacks its sovereignty'.

Rolf Ekeus, the chief of the UN commission monitoring the elimination of Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction, had warned on Wednesday that Iraq must comply with Gulf war ceasefire terms or face 'tragic and serious consequences'.

Increased activity by US aircraft over the past two days at the Dharan air base in Saudi Arabia was reported by residents.