UN tries to avert Iraq showdown

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - A United Nations envoy flew to Iraq yesterday to try to prevent a showdown between Saddam Hussein's government and the Security Council over Baghdad's refusal to allow weapons inspectors to search a government ministry.

Doug Englund, the new regional chief of a UN special commission charged with overseeing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, left from Bahrain. The team investigating Iraq's chemical-weapons arsenal kept a vigil for the fourth day outside the Agriculture Ministry in Baghdad to press for permission to inspect the building, according to Alastair Livingston, Mr Englund's predecessor, whose contract ended on Tuesday. Mr Livingston said the inspectors would not end the vigil until they were allowed into the ministry. They were expected back in Bahrain on Saturday, but would stay on if they had not been able to search the ministry by then. .