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Arms probe in Iraq continues as UN inspectors visit munitions depots and factories

Arms probe in Iraq continues as UN inspectors visit munitions depots and factories

United Nations inspectors today continued their probe for evidence of illegal weapons in Iraq, visiting an agricultural research centre, munitions depots and various factories in the Baghdad area.

According to a spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Baghdad, a biological team inspected the Al Rabia Centre for Agricultural Research, which conducts research on seeds, plants and plant by-products for specific agricultural or industrial applications.

Another UNMOVIC biological team, meanwhile, together with a member of the multidisciplinary team, inspected the Technical Military Depot for the Air Force at Al Taji, according to Hiro Ueki.

An UNMOVIC missile team visited the Al Mutaseem site to tag Al Fatah missiles in support of the team's effort to account for all Al Fatah missiles. Another team inspected the Inskandariya Explosives Research and Development facility, which is now split into the Al Kudus Company and the Al Numan Company. A third team went to the Zaafaraniya Rocket Motor Test Stand to verify that the site remains ineffective.

Mr. Ueki added that an UNMOVIC chemical team inspected a munitions depot outside Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the IAEA inspected four sites: the Tho Al Fukar Mechanical Plant, a mechanical manufacturing engineering plant; the Sumood Factory and the Nassr State Establishment, both of which operate foundries; and the Qa Qaa Stores, which is used to store high explosives.

In other news, the UN office overseeing the humanitarian oil-for-food programme said that Iraqi exports for the week ending 10 January totalled 6.7 million barrels, with the total value of exports for the week estimated at $174 million at current prices and exchange rates. The average price of Iraqi crude for the reporting period was $26.70 a barrel.