Aziz Says Iraq Ready To
Defend Itself If Attacked

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said Iraq is prepared for war should it be attacked and rejected a U.S. call for Baghdad to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country.
``We are preparing ourselves to defend our country, this is our duty,'' Aziz said in an interview broadcast by a Dutch television station Monday.
Aziz's comments follow a statement by President Bush who last week demanded that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein allow U.N. arms inspectors to return to Iraq and said Saddam would ''find out'' the consequences if he refused.
Asked whether Iraq would accept U.N. weapons inspectors, Aziz said:
``Why should we bring spies into Iraq to spy on us, to spy on our headquarters where we work and on our legitimate military activities just to please Mr. Bush or the U.S. administration? The answer is no.''
Aziz said all chemical weapons it had during the Gulf War in 1991 had been destroyed and Iraq was not manufacturing new ones.
``We are not interested in producing such weapons,'' Aziz said.
``All the (arms-making) knowledge can be used for civilian purposes in all the fields: the nuclear field, the chemical field and the biological field. They (the experts) are doing that now,'' he added.
Asked whether Iraq would repeat its Gulf War Scud missile attacks on Israel, Aziz said Baghdad no longer had any missiles, ruling out a repeat of its long-distance attacks.
``We are capable of defending Iraq on Iraqi ground. We don't have the capability to go further and we don't have the intention to go further,'' Aziz said.


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