Iraq: Annan welcomes UN inspectors' effective use of authority
Responding to questions from the press as he entered UN Headquarters in New York this morning, Mr. Annan said today's inspection of a presidential site in Baghdad was an indication that the inspectors are "using their new authority effectively."
"They have the right to inspect and go anywhere, and they have demonstrated that they are determined to use this new authority," he said. "And it is also a good indication that the Iraqis are cooperating."
At the same time, the Secretary-General emphasized that "this is only a beginning," telling reporters that while cooperation seems to be good, "this is not a one-week wonder." Mr. Annan added that he would wait for the inspectors to analyze their data and brief the Security Council.
To a question on Security Council talks regarding an extension of the humanitarian "oil-for-food" programme for Iraq, set to expire tomorrow, he stressed that the initiative aims to assist the Iraqi people. "The oil-for-food scheme was designed to help them, and I hope nothing will be done to jeopardize the interest of the population that we seek to help," he said
Meanwhile, the UN office running the programme today reported that last week, Baghdad's crude exports totalled 11.9 million barrels, earning an estimated $258 million in revenue.