Mr Yilmaz said Washington has asked for restrictions on flights from Incirlik to be eased. The Incirlik base was used for bombing raids on Iraq during the Gulf War and is currently used by American and British warplanes patrolling the no-fly zone over northern Iraq
Meanwhile the Pentagon said it was keeping the aircraft carrier Nimitz at sea in the Gulf, postponing a scheduled port call in the United Arab Emirates this weekend. Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, head of the U.S. Central Command, had decided to delay the port call by the Nimitz, which carries more than 50 attack planes, ``in light of the current situation.''
In Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz lashed out at Butler today, accusing him of trying to ``mislead the Security Council and to escalate the situation with the aim of misleading international public opinion.'' Aziz's statement was carried by the official Iraqi News Agency.
In a letter to the Security Council, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf blamed UNSCOM for its failure to conduct inspections for more than a week. The inspections were scrubbed after Iraqis -- for a fourth straight day -- refused to admit American members of the team. ``Iraq did not prevent the monitoring groups from conducting their inspection visits. Rather it requested the Americans not enter,'' al-Sahhaf said. He said Butler ``bears full responsibility for ... preventing the inspection teams from conducting their functions.''
Al-Sahhaf also said one surveillance camera was damaged Wednesday during an explosion while the Iraq military was testing two short-range missile engines. Short-range missiles are not banned by the United Nations. He acknowledged moving some equipment, but said Baghdad took the action only because it feared a U.S. air strike was imminent. ``Therefore, we have taken some measures, which are precisely to move to distant sites the equipment that may have been subject to military attack,'' he said.
He said the equipment would be returned to the original location and the United Nations would be allowed to inspect it once any threat of an air strike ends. ``We stress that these equipments will not be used for any proscribed military activity during this period,'' he said.
Meanwhile in the West Bank, Palestinian youths demonstrated against Israel and in support of Iraq Wednesday. ``Why are U.N. Security Council resolutions imposed on Iraq but not Israel?'' chanted schoolchildren near Dheisheh refugee camp in the Bethlehem area. ``Yes to President Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi leadership!''
The UN's chief weapons inspector, Richard Butler, told the BBC Thursday that surveillance cameras in Iraq may have been deliberately obscured or covered up. "Now we're being blocked from inspecting, they are being done. I mean, it's clearly a case of when you turn your back, and we're being taken advantage of in that sense." Butler said.
``They have been turning the lights off in buildings that we are supposed to be seeing all the time '' he said. ``The cameras go to our office in Baghdad and the pictures aren't coming. Some of the pictures we have seen are black,'' he said.
Well, Mr Butler it is you that calls off inspection
Dont blame Iraq for that! No one is blocking 90% of the inspectors, but you !!!.
Everyone can go about their job except the 8 US members of UNSCOM. Besides the Americans can't repair broken equipment and damaged transmission lines when their expertise is spying.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan rushed a UN mediating team to Iraq to defuse the growing crisis between the US and Iraq over weapons inspections.
Annan announced that Iraq had agreed to allow diplomats from Argentina, Sweden and Algeria to fly to Baghdad. The team was expected to arrive there Wednesday, the day the expulsion order against the Americans takes effect.
President Saddam Hussein, in remarks reported by the official INA news agency, called Monday for a dialogue to defuse the crisis and for the United Nations to clarify the conditions under which economic sanctions imposed against Iraq would eventually be lifted.
Saddam asked for "complete clarity (from the UN) regarding a total lifting of the embargo, starting with a legal and strict implementation of paragraph 22" of Security Council resolution 687, INA said. We have even suggested ... an American delegate should come to listen to us and for us to listen to him," Saddam said. "If they resort to other means, however, including the use of force, then God will help everyone defend his rights."
The dispatch of the UN envoys came after the UN Special Commision (UNSCOM) for disarming Iraq suspended its field operations on Monday -- for the second time in less than a week.Iraq has concluded that no matter what they did the U.S. and the United Kingdom would keep attaching new conditions, each one extraneous to the Security Council Resolution 687 of April 1991. Iraq says the two allies have tried to shift the goalposts to deprive the country of its right, under clause 22 of Resolution 687, to have the sanctions lifted fully.
Annan's team includes Algerian Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan; Emilio Cardenas, Argentina's former U.N. ambassador; and Jan Eliasson, a Swedish foreign ministry official. Eliasson, a Swedish foreign ministry official who has met Saddam six times previously, told the Swedish TT news agency before leaving Stockholm for Geneva to meet the other envoys that they hoped "to try to avoid an escalation to an armed conflict."
"It is a difficult mission, but diplomacy must be given a chance," said Eliasson, who was a UN mediator during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
However the US has never ruled out use of force. But in practice it knows that a strike against Iraq will rally public opinion in the Arab world behind Iraq, and will only be counterproductive.
In a sixth straight day of protests, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the Iraqi capital on Monday to call for the ouster of US arms inspectors and burn American flags. "Americans out. Iraq is a free country," they chanted during the protest in front of offices of the UN "Arms inspections are all spying for America."
Tim Trevan, UNSCOM spokesman from 1992-95, claimed the Iraqis had systematically obstructed the mission and admitted only what the inspectors had already discovered. In a provocative mood Trevan said Iraq had backed down in the past after acts of defiance prompted American military action, notably a 1993 cruise missile barrage.
The disinformation report in the Sunday newspaper quoted him as saying UNSCOM were on the verge of uncovering the VX liquid nerve gas agent when Iraq ordered the American members of the inspection team to leave the country.
The Observer claimed UNCOM inspectors had discovered that Iraq ordered 750 tonnes of the chemical agent required to make VX nerve gas and doubted Iraq's claim that most of the multi purpose chemical had been destroyed in Allied bombing raids during the 1991 Gulf War.
``One of the nasty things about VX is that because it's liquid, it is more efficient,'' Tim Trevan, a former adviser to the chairman of the UN Special Commission for Iraq, told the Observer.
Earlier in October, Trevan, who was a senior aide to Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekeus, who headed the U.N. team until last July told Reuters, ``We were playing a game of cat and mouse with the Iraqis, and the mouse clearly does not cooperate with the cat.''
Former Spokesman for UNCOM Tim Trevan (UK), diplomat with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office served under Executive Chairman of the Special Commission Rolf Ekus (Sweden) & Deputy Executive Chairman Charles A. Duelfer (US). In September 1997 Trevan became news media spokesman for a British intelligence front organisation- the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 23 Tavistock Street, London
The UN Security Council met in consultations at 4 p.m.Friday to discuss the letter sent to them yesterday by the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), Richard Butler, in connection with Thursday's incident in which Iraq turned back two American UNSCOM inspectors from Habbaniyah Airfield in the north-west of Baghdad.
Butler told the Council that he considered Iraq's order for American team members to leave the country a breach of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Persian Gulf War- a formulation, if endorsed by the 15-member council as a whole, could theoretically open the way for military action against Iraq. That However drew a sharp rebuke from French Ambassador Alain Dejammet, who said it was up to the council to declare a breach, a move that could pave the way for military action.
``Mr. Butler can give us his opinion,'' Dejammet said. ``But that's only his opinion.''
France balked at Butler's use of the phrase ``material breach,'' saying it was up to the council to make its own determination. It was considered by some that Iraq was hardly in breach when Butler had ordered a suspension of UNSCOM operations
U.N. weapons chief Richard Butler told reporters after briefing the Security Council on Friday: ``I will issue instructions now for the suspension of UNSCOM (U.N. Special Commission) activities to end, with resumption of all normal work in Iraq, including in the field, beginning Monday morning.''
Asked if that included the approximately 10 U.S. members currently in
Iraq, Butler stressed: ``All nationalities, members of the UNSCOM team,
will go to work.''