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As inspections continue, latest attempt by UN to interview Iraqi falls through

As inspections continue, latest attempt by UN to interview Iraqi falls through

Attempts by United Nations monitors to interview Iraqi individuals continued to be hampered as a potential interviewee insisted on having a witness present during questioning.

A UN spokesman in Baghdad today said the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) had sought another private interview with an Iraqi individual last night. "This individual made the appointment, accompanied by another Iraqi individual, and made suggestions to have this individual present with him during the interview," Hiro Ueki said. "The interview therefore did not proceed."

As for inspection activities, an UNMOVIC chemical team visited the Al Riyadh stores, a storage facility for several chemical and engineering companies. Missile teams, meanwhile, inspected the Al Mutassim site, which is involved in final assembling, testing and qualification of solid propellant missiles, and the Al Fateh site, which manufactures mechanical, guidance and control parts for the Al-Samoud missile. "These inspections were conducted to verify Iraq's declarations and to establish a comprehensive monitoring mechanism," Mr. Ueki said.

The Commission's biological teams inspected four sites, according to Mr. Ueki. One visited the Laser and Plasma Institute located on the campus of Baghdad University. "Currently, this institute does postgraduate teaching and research on the effects of irradiated bacteria to develop methods to treat infections," he said.

Another team inspected the Baghdad Nutrition Research Institute in Baghdad, while a third took some samples at the State Enterprise for Dairy Products. "These samples were taken from the equipment that had been previously used at the Baby Milk Factory in Abu Ghraib," Mr. Ueki noted. A fourth team revisited the Al Noaman (Numan) Factory and inventoried a storeroom, which contained cluster bombs and components of sub-munitions.

Two UNMOVIC multidisciplinary teams inspected cement production facilities in Baghdad and in Mosul. The Baghdad team inspected the Heti Readymade Concrete, roughly 25 kilometres west of the capital, and the Mosul team inspected the Sinjar Cement Factory.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected the Ashakyli Stores south of Baghdad while a second held meetings at the Iraqi Nuclear Monitoring Directorate (NMD). The IAEA also participated in an UNMOVIC inspection of the Institute of Lasers and Plasma Postgraduate Studies at the University of Baghdad, Mr. Ueki said.