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Despite hardened positions on Iraq in Security Council, Annan looks for ‘calm’ discussion Friday

Despite hardened positions on Iraq in Security Council, Annan looks for ‘calm’ discussion Friday

Kofi Annan
Although positions in the Security Council are “hard,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, the 15-nation body will have a chance to discuss how to proceed with the disarmament of Iraq “calmly” at a meeting on Friday to hear an update by top United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General noted that several foreign ministers are arriving to attend the Council’s meeting, “and we will all have a chance to discuss this calmly. The positions are very hard now.”

He recalled that there are already several proposals on how the Council should proceed in ridding Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction, mentioning the British-Spanish-US resolution, the French-German-Russian memorandum and a recent Canadian proposal. “And so, until there is an actual vote one cannot tell what will happen,” he said.

Asked about his attempts to reunify the Council, the Secretary-General said, “I am working very hard. I am encouraging people to strive for a compromise, to seek a common ground, and to make concessions, you get concessions.”

The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet later Thursday with Ambassadors John D. Negroponte of the United States and Wang Yingfan of China, completing a series of one-on-one meetings on Iraq that he requested with the permanent members of the Security Council.

Meanwhile in Iraq, a missile team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) supervised the destruction of six more Al Samoud 2 missiles at Al Taji, bringing to 34 the total number of missiles destroyed. Another missile team observed the final concrete encasing of the two destroyed casting chambers at Al Mutasim, while a third visited the Al Samoud Factory to inventory spare parts and components for the missile.

A biological team also returned to the Al Aziziyah Airfield and Firing Range to take further samples from the excavated R-400 bombs. The team then inspected two facilities near Aziziyah that belong to the Mesopotamia State Company for Seeds.

In other activities, a chemical team flew by helicopter to inspect the Akashat Phosphate Mine in Al Qaim, which provides raw materials to the Al Qaim Fertilizer Plant, and a multidisciplinary team conducted aerial surveillance of three different sites in the northern no-fly-zone.

A Mosul-based multidisciplinary team, meanwhile, inspected the North Gas Company in Kirkuk, which produces different kinds of gases and sulphur.

As for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a team inspected the SAAD State Company in Baghdad and performed a detailed review of a new factory that SAAD is designing. A second team inspected a private trading company in the Mansour district of Baghdad, and a third IAEA team performed a radiation survey in north Baghdad.