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Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto implied Monday that the U.S. should accept the deal struck between Baghdad and the United Nations and not launch attacks against Iraq over its refusal to grant U.N. arms inspectors access to sites suspected of housing weapons of mass destruction.

“Japan is a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council and must respect the positions of the U.N. That is how the prestige of the U.N. has been built,” he told reporters. Other political leaders expressed hope that the deal between U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and Iraq would avert a military confrontation. Annan has yet to elaborate on the deal Iraq agreed to over the weapons inspections issue, which he said he hopes the Security Council will accept.

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