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Chief UN monitors in Baghdad for further talks as inspections continue

Chief UN monitors in Baghdad for further talks as inspections continue

UN inspectors in Iraq
As the chief United Nations disarmament officials returned to Baghdad for more talks with Iraqi authorities, UN monitors pressed forward today with inspection activities at facilities around the country.

The Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, met with the Iraqi delegation headed by Gen. Amir Al-Saadi, an adviser in the Presidential Office, a spokesman for both UN bodies said in Baghdad. The meeting lasted roughly four hours.

UNMOVIC also sought a private interview with a biological scientist. “While he made the appointment alone, he did not agree to the mode of interview, as proposed by UNMOVIC,” spokesman Hiro Ueki said. “The interview, therefore, did not proceed.”

The IAEA, however, conducted a private interview with a chemical engineer. “No Iraqi witness was present during the interview, which lasted approximately two-and-a-half hours,” Mr. Ueki said. “A broad range of technical matters was covered during the interview.”

Meanwhile, an UNMOVIC chemical team inspected the Al Rasheed Water Project in Baghdad, as the Commission’s missile inspectors inspected the Al Mutassim Training Institute, a facility involved in the machining of mechanical components.

About 10 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, an UNMOVIC biological team inspected the Djerf Al Naddaf facility, while in Mosul, a multidisciplinary team inspected the Mosul Technical Institute, which gives technical practical training.

As for the IAEA, one team performed a motorized radiation survey in the Baghdad area, as a second deployed two mobile air-sampling units at two locations in Baghdad. “This deployment constitutes a field trial of the mobile units as another step in the re-installation of both fixed and mobile air samplers as part of wide-area environmental monitoring in Iraq,” Mr. Ueki said.