Iraq fears US may plant weapons evidence

Anne Penketh
Saturday 01 February 2003 01:00

Iraq warned yesterday that America could try to plant proof that it still holds banned weapons to justify an invasion, as Turkey was reported to have mobilised additional troops near the Iraqi border in preparation for war.

Naji Sabri, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, said in a letter to Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, that Washington might try to use its "technological superiority in the techniques of espionage, fabrication, deception and misleading to plant false evidence" against Iraq. Washington would present such evidence to the Security Council "to create pretexts for its aggressive attitude and strong intention to launch war, destruction and aggression against other peoples", Mr Sabri said.

As Turkey, a Nato member, appeared to be close to reaching a final agreement with America on allowing its border area and air bases to be used as a possible "northern front", a military official in the border region told Reuters that an additional 10,000 soldiers had been sent to the area.

Ahmed Chalabi, exiled leader of the opposition umbrella group the Iraqi National Congress, crossed into the Kurdish region from the Iranian border at Hajj Omran on his first visit to Iraq since 1998. Mr Chalabi and other opposition leaders are in northern Iraq for a meeting of a 65-member committee, due on 5 February, to lay the groundwork for a post-Saddam Hussein government.

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