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As UN inspections continue, proposed interviews with 2 more Iraqis fall through

As UN inspections continue, proposed interviews with 2 more Iraqis fall through

United Nations officials sought private interviews with two more Iraqi individuals today but were turned down by both after failing to reach agreement on how the questioning would be conducted.

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) had sought to question a biological scientist and a missile expert, according to a spokesman for the Commission in Baghdad. "Both of them showed up for the appointments," Hiro Ueki said. "However, the biological scientist did not agree to the location and mode of interview, as proposed by UNMOVIC, [and] the missile expert did not agree to the mode of interview, as proposed by UNMOVIC. Therefore, the interviews did not proceed."

Meanwhile, UNMOVIC inspectors continued their work on the ground, as a biological team visited an Agricultural Research Centre, approximately 20 kilometres west of Baghdad, and then moved to one of the Centre's nearby breeding stations, Mr. Ueki said. A second biological team conducted a geo-physical survey of an area of land within the perimeter of a school on the western outskirts of Baghdad, and excavated a small area as part of the survey. A third biological team inspected a dairy products facility in an eastern suburb of Baghdad.

Three UNMOVIC missile teams inspected three separate sites: the Al Battani Centre that is involved in space research and development; the Al Mutasim location that is involved in the practical training of engineers who belong to the Military Industrialization Corporation (MIC); and Al Mamoun, which manufactures solid propellant rocket motors.

North of Baghdad, a multidisciplinary team returned to the Al Taji Ammunition Depot to extract a sample of the liquid contents of a 122-millimetre rocket chemical warhead previously declared by Iraq. "During the course of the inspection, the team discovered an empty 122 mm Al Burak chemical warhead and an empty plastic chemical agent canister," Mr. Ueki said. "Samples were taken from both items for subsequent analysis."

A Mosul-based multidisciplinary team, meanwhile, inspected the Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Unit of the Nineveh Health Authority.

As for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), one of its teams performed a mobile radiation survey in Baghdad, while a second participated in a technical meeting at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad. The initial field trial of mobile air samplers also continued, Mr. Ueki said.