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Iraq: UN weapons inspectors submit final report

Iraq: UN weapons inspectors submit final report

Iraqi refugees register to collect assistance in Amman, Jordan
United Nations inspectors monitoring weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq have submitted a final report after the shutdown of their operations last year, nearly two decades after they first started work on the issue.

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, (UNMOVIC), which carried out inspections in Iraq until March 2003, shortly before armed action began in the country, said that it had created a unique monitoring mechanism for weapons of mass destruction and long-range delivery systems.

The report, which was released today, says that UNMOVIC and its predecessor, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), put into practice many innovative verification and monitoring procedures and said that, through its training programme, UNMOVIC had created a roster of 350 experts in biological, chemical and missile areas, drawn from more than 50 countries.

“The international community could benefit if practical ways were found to preserve for appropriate future use the experience and expertise accumulated over the years of the Special Commission and UNMOVIC operations,” the report says.

The UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), set up at the end of the war in 1991, destroyed missiles, mobile launchers, fixed launch sites, chemical munitions, a chemical weapons complex and a germ warfare complex as well as tons of missile fuel, chemical warfare agents, precursor chemicals and bacteria growth media.

UNMOVIC inspectors destroyed dozens of Iraqi Al Samoud 2 missiles and warheads, as well as launchers, shells filled with chemical weapons precursors and other arms.

Since the Security Council formally shut down its operations last June , UNMOVIC has placed its archives in a secure storage facility, and disposed of its inspection equipment and non-hazardous materials that it collected during its mandate in Iraq – among them a mobile chemical laboratory from Baghdad that had been transferred to Kuwait.