UNITED NATIONS (AP) – U.N. weapons inspectors bolstered the United States’ case yesterday that Iraq has failed to cooperate with them wholeheartedly, but also called for at least a “few months” to give the process time to avert a war.

The presentations to the U.N. Security Council, 60 days after inspections resumed following a four-year break, left the five veto-wielding members divided on how much more time Baghdad should be given to disarm.

As the Pentagon pushed ahead with war preparations, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that Saddam Hussein has “not much more time” to comply and suggested the next step by Washington could come as soon as next week.

But China, Russia and France, which have said they currently see no cause for war, countered that yesterday’s reports support the need for inspectors to continue to do their work.

In his toughest criticism yet, chief inspector Hans Blix charged that Iraq has never genuinely accepted U.N. resolutions demanding its disarmament and warned that “cooperation on substance” is “indispensable” for a peaceful solution.

“Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it,” Blix told the council.

Speaking next, Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the U.N. nuclear control agency, said inspections of 106 sites had turned up no evidence so far that Iraq was reviving its nuclear program. With Iraq’s cooperation, he said, “we should be able within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons programs.”

“These few months would be a valuable investment in peace because it could help avoid a war,” ElBaradei said.

Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed al-Douri insisted his country “has actively cooperated” and “has expressed its sincere willingness to clarify any questions.” Iraq also sent a 10-page letter to the United Nations defending its cooperation.

“We open all doors to Mr. Blix and his team. If there is something, he will find it. We have no hidden reports at all,” al-Douri said.

The inspection reports came as President Bush planned to outline his case for possible war against Iraq in tonight’s State of the Union address.

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