UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iraq, facing a Friday deadline and the threat of war, has accepted a tough new U.N. resolution that will return weapons inspectors to the country after nearly four years, the country's U.N. ambassador said.
"The letter says that Iraq will deal with Security Council resolution 1441 despite its bad contents," Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri said Wednesday.
"We are prepared to receive the inspectors within the assigned timetable," he said. "We are eager to see them perform their duties in accordance with international law as soon as possible."
In the letter, Iraq reiterates that it has no weapons of mass destruction, Al-Douri said.
"We explained in the letter the whole Iraqi position saying that Iraq ... has not and will not have any mass destruction weapons, so we are not worried about the inspectors when they will be back," he said.
Al-Douri delivered the letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan's office. Annan was in the Washington area on Wednesday to deliver a speech and meet with President Bush, who has repeatedly threatened Iraq with a U.S.-led war if it fails to comply with inspectors.
The secretary-general on Tuesday dismissed a vote earlier that day by Iraq's parliament opposing the tough new resolution and expressed hope that the government would accept the resolution adopted unanimously last Friday by the U.N. Security Council.
Iraq's acceptance would clear the way for the arrival of an advance team of U.N. inspectors on Monday.
The team will be led by U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix, who is in charge of biological and chemical inspections, and Mohamed ElBaradei, head if the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is in charge of nuclear inspections.
Al-Douri said Iraq hopes its acceptance of the resolution will avoid the threat of war. "We are always opting for the path of peace," he said.
It warns that Iraq faces "serious consequences" if it doesn't comply -- and the United States has made clear that an Iraqi failure to cooperate will almost certainly mean a new war.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son, Odai Saddam Hussein, proposed making Arabs part of the U.N. team.
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