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Inspections continue as chief UN arms experts hold talks with Iraqi counterparts

Inspections continue as chief UN arms experts hold talks with Iraqi counterparts

As the top United Nations inspectors held talks in Baghdad with their Iraqi counterparts, UN monitors on the ground continued their probe for evidence of illegal weapons programmes.

A biological team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) revisited the Communicable Diseases Control Centre in Baghdad - which is responsible for the infectious diseases epidemic control in the country - to carry out discussions related to the site activity.

Another biological team revisited Kham Vani Saad to inspect two large hangers. "It is a declared site with tagged equipment," said Hiro Ueki, a spokesman for UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Baghdad.

A third biological team revisited Baghdad Alcoholic Drinks Company, a brewery, in the Zafarania industrial area of Baghdad to inspect the company's quality control laboratory and the tagged equipment. A fourth team revisited an agricultural site in the southern outskirts of Baghdad to complete the inspection of the remaining buildings that were sealed during their first check on 15 January.

Meanwhile, an UNMOVIC chemical team returned to the Al Qa Qaa complex to inspect production units while a multidisciplinary team inspected the Rashdiya Munitions Filling Plant.

An UNMOVIC missile team travelled 90 kilometres south of Baghdad to inspect the Al Qa Qaa Static Test Stands used to test small rocket motors, located within the Al Qa Qaa complex. Another missile team went to the Al Harith Workshop to re-tag SA-2 missiles, whose tags had been removed the week before for maintenance, and to remove tags from other SA-2 missiles that will go through a maintenance cycle next.

The IAEA, supported by UNMOVIC geophysical and chemical inspectors, conducted a simultaneous inspection of two previously uninspected sites in the north of Baghdad, Mr. Ueki reported.