UN arms experts continue inspections of Iraqi sites

UN arms experts continue inspections of Iraqi sites

Inspectors from the United Nations today continued their checks of various facilities in and around Baghdad for evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

A team of missile inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) visited the Al Rasheed Headquarters outside Baghdad, holding technical talks with the Iraqi experts at the site about declarations, future plans and current status of solid propellant missile programmes, according to a UN spokesman. During the talks, some UN personnel performed an inspection of the administration building for this headquarters.

An UNMOVIC biological team inspected the Food Examination and Analysis Laboratory of the Al Jadiriyah complex in Baghdad. The laboratory, which belongs to the Ministry of Trade and is a previously declared site with tagged equipment, tests for food and pharmaceutical contaminants, said Hiro Ueki, spokesman for UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, UNMOVIC teams also inspected the Mussayib Pharmaceutical Complex – which was under construction when it was last visited in 1998 and is still being built today – and the Baghdad Technology University, where the Dean was queried on the institute’s activities.

A team from the IAEA met with senior members of the National Monitoring Directorate of Iraq at the Tho Al Fekar factory of the Al Rashid Company. “The purpose of the meeting was to compare inventories generated by Iraq and IAEA independently,” Mr. Ueki said. “The material being inventoried is very large stocks of high-strength aluminium that has dual-use purposes.”

The team then made an unannounced inspection of a private trading company that represents companies outside of Iraq, reviewing records of purchases facilitated by the company on behalf of Iraqi military programmes. “The company has been involved in recent attempts by Iraq to purchase high-strength aluminium,” the spokesman said.