Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed el-Baradei, delivered a more positive report on nuclear weapons, saying that no evidence had been found that Baghdad had restarted its nuclear programme. He called for the inspectors to be given more time, deeming their work ‘a valuable investment in peace’. Both Blix and El-Baradei emphasised that the report was an interim one, and no conclusion had yet been reached on whether or not Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri maintained that his government had complied fully with the UN resolution and accused the US and the UK of waging a ‘dirty psychological campaign’ in preparation for ‘unjustified aggression’. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the inspectors should be granted more time to complete their assessment. However, shortly before the delivery of the report, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer took an uncompromising stance: ‘If the answer is only partially yes [on compliance], then the answer is no.’