WASHINGTON (AP) – In another warning to Saddam Hussein, U.S. officials said yesterday that Iraq must not “play games” with U.N. weapons inspectors and they disputed Iraq’s claim not to have nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

“I’ll simply say that they do have weapons of mass destruction and the purpose of the U.N. resolution, of course, is for them to agree to allow inspectors in and to allow the inspectors to make some conclusions,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference.

Iraq on Wednesday accepted a tough new U.N. Security Council resolution demanding it disarm and allow inspectors unfettered access anywhere in Iraq. But Iraq’s acceptance letter was filled with anti-American invective and repeatedly claimed Saddam’s government did not have any banned weapons or programs to make them.

“I’ve never tried to predict what (Saddam) might do, but one thing I know he better not do, and that is play games,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Added Secretary of State Colin Powell, during a trip to Canada: “I think what we’re interested in seeing is a new spirit of cooperation, if there’s going to be one, from Iraq.”

Bush called Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar yesterday and the two leaders “expressed full solidarity in demanding that the Iraqi regime disarm,” McClellan said.

The president has said repeatedly that if Iraq does not disarm, the United States would lead “a coalition of the willing” to disarm Iraq by force.

The weapons inspectors are to resume their search for illegal caches by Dec. 23 and are to report to the Security Council 60 days after they start looking. Iraq has until Dec. 8 to give a full accounting of all its banned weapons programs as well as programs to develop long-range missiles and remote-controlled aircraft to deliver them.

At any point, failure by Iraq to comply with its obligations, and any false statements or omissions in the list, are to be reported by the inspectors to the Security Council.

Administration officials have said the resolution also prohibits Iraq from firing on U.S. and British planes patrolling no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. The United States set up the zones after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, saying they were in support of U.N. resolutions demanding that Saddam not attack Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south.

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