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France denies finding traces of VX gas on Iraqi warheads

SHARE France denies finding traces of VX gas on Iraqi warheads

France on Thursday denied press reports that it had found traces of VX nerve gas on Iraqi warheads and had delayed disclosing the information to its allies.

Paris also urged the United Nations to hold an emergency meeting of chemical experts to stop such reports by making a full assessment of the scientific evidence gathered so far."Our conclusions right now are that we do not have any definitive conclusions about traces of VX on the samples," defense ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau said.

"Nobody could imagine that France would want to slow down the discussion in UNSCOM," he said, referring to the U.N. special commission overseeing the disarmament of Iraq.

Bureau said a French military laboratory near Paris had finished examining its Iraqi warhead fragments but had not yet finished its analysis. "We do not have absolute certainty on the conclusions to be drawn," he said.

Bureau also denied any dispute on this between France and the United States, where the New York Times reported Paris was withholding its test results while Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was at the United Nations.

Aziz is due to make a stopover in Paris on Friday and is to meet French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, the foreign ministry said.