BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq said Sunday that Secretary of State Colin Powell will likely present fabricated evidence when he presents the U.S. case against Saddam Hussein to the U.N. Security Council this week.
Iraq stuck by its claim that it has no more banned weapons of mass destruction as it prepared for a new round of direct talks with chief U.N. weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei.
Maj. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, Iraq's chief liaison officer with the U.N. teams, promised to show a ``willingness to cooperate'' in the talks with Blix and ElBaradei and to enter negotiations, presumably over inspectors' complaints.
With the United States building up troops in the Persian Gulf region for possible war, Powell addresses the Security Council on Wednesday to present Washington's case that Saddam's regime is still hiding weapons on mass destruction and has links to terrorism.
``I think they will be fabricated, space photos, aerial photos, to some details to some thing that could be interpreted in different ways just to create suspicions,'' Amin said of Powell's testimony. ``They will not be real evidences because we have no weapons of mass destruction, no proscribed activities.''
The United States has marshaled nearly 90,000 military personnel in the Gulf region, and the number may soon double.
Blix and ElBaradei are returning Saturday for two days of talks in Baghdad before they make a crucial report on progress in inspections to the Security Council on Feb. 14.
The two inspections chiefs say they want concessions from Baghdad to speed their weapons experts' day-to-day work _ in particular removing obstacles to U.N. reconnaissance flights using American U-2 spy planes and to private interviews with Iraqi scientists.
Amin told reporters in Baghdad that the new visit ``was our suggestion to show our willingness to cooperate and to enter into negotiations in Baghdad.''
Amin repeated that Iraq would be ready to try to resolve all ``technical issues'' with Blix and ElBaradei. Still, he gave no indication Iraq was willing to change its position on the two key issues sought by the inspectors.
Iraq wants the United States and Britain to suspend their air patrols in the ``no-fly'' zones while the U-2s are in the skies. Coalition aircraft have made more than a dozen airstrikes on Iraqi positions in the zones over the last four weeks, reportedly after ``hostile actions'' by the Iraqis.
``So how can we secure the safety of the (U-2) airplane when such warfare is going on?'' Amin said.
Amin said Iraq had been cooperating with inspectors since they returned to the country in November _ despite U.S. and British claims to the contrary.
The inspections so far ``prove that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction,'' he said. ``It indicates that Iraq is cooperating fully with inspection teams.''
Amin insisted the Iraqi government can't force scientists to speak privately with the inspectors.
``If any of them want to make the private interview, OK, we are encouraging them in that,'' Amin told the BBC's ``Breakfast with Frost'' program from Iraq.
So far, no Iraqi scientist has agreed to interviews without the presence of Iraqi official. The United States maintains Iraq has threatened scientists with death if they agree.
The inspectors believe the specialists will be more candid in private meetings.
The chief inspectors' next report to the council could influence the debate over whether time for Iraq to comply with U.N. demands has run out. The United States maintains it is Iraq's responsibility to prove it has no banned weapons.
A series of U.N. resolutions since Iraq's defeat by a U.S.-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf War prohibit any programs for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Thousands of such Iraqi weapons were destroyed under a previous U.N. inspection program in the 1990s.
Despite Iraq's denials, and without presenting proof, the United States and Britain insist Saddam's regime is hiding banned weaponry and say they will disarm Iraq by force if necessary.
Coalition aircraft, meanwhile, dropped 420,000 leaflets over southern Iraq, warning people that aircraft can strike at any time and encouraging them to avoid areas occupied by Iraqi troops, the U.S. Central Command said.
Also Sunday, U.N. monitors made surprise visits to a missile factory west of Baghdad and a chemicals complex to the south, both often inspected before, and to the Abu Ghraib Dairy Company, 12 miles west of the capital, the Information Ministry reported.
The dairy inspection was not immediately explained, but presumably was of interest to the teams searching for signs of biological weapons work.