UN inspectors fan out across Iraq to probe for evidence of arms programmes

UN inspectors fan out across Iraq to probe for evidence of arms programmes

UN inspectors in Iraq
Teams of United Nations inspectors fanned out across Iraq today and over the weekend to continue their probe of facilities for possible evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Biological experts from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspected the Ibn Seena Centre, a facility for the production of veterinary drugs, according to a UN spokesman in Baghdad. Another team of missile inspectors went to an Iraqi army base far south of Baghdad, where it started tagging Iraq's Al Fatah ground-to-ground solid propellant rockets. The remaining Al Fatah rockets, now in the possession of the Iraqi army, will be tagged in the course of this week.

A chemical team returned to Falluja III, which is part of the Al Tariq Company, primarily a pesticide formulation plant and which was previously inspected twice last month, spokesman Hiro Ueki said. Meanwhile, a multidisciplinary team inspected the maintenance section of the Al Fao Company, which is responsible for the repair of engines, pumps and compressors used by the water-treatment and other industries.

A team based in Mosul inspected the Free Trading Zone Commission (FTZC), which is affiliated with the Ministry of Finance and is an independent investment commission located in the Filfayl area.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted an inspection of several locations at the Tuwaitha site, including the Nuclear Physics Academic Research Centre, the Physics Research Materials and Electronics Studies Centre, and the Laser and Plasma Research Centre. Inspections were conducted in order to ascertain the level of activity at these locations.

On Sunday, UNMOVIC teams inspected a chemical and petroleum research centre, as well as a factory that contributes to some Iraqi missile programmes with the development of fuses, Mr. Ueki said. Another team of inspectors returned to the Al Mamoun Plant to finish tagging equipment related to solid propellant production, while other inspections were carried out at the Al Rasheed Central Military Medical Laboratory and the Al Rasheed Military Hospital located in a complex owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Teams in Basra and Mosul inspected educational institutions that belong to Basra University and the Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital, respectively, while another team of inspectors visited the Al Aziziyah Firing Range, where certain proscribed munitions were previously stored.

The IAEA, meanwhile, inspected the Saddam Graphite Plant, which has a project to manufacture graphite electrodes for use in induction arc furnaces for the country's iron and steel industry.

On Saturday, UNMOVIC teams inspected chemical and biological facilities, as well as the Shayk Mahzar Airfield located in the southern no-fly zone. IAEA inspectors went to the Al Mamoud plant, which manufactures composite propellant fuel for missiles, and the Al Aboor SE Plant, which refurbishes machine tools and produces spare parts for the civilian and military sector.