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Iraq agrees to unconditional return of UN weapons

16 September – Iraq has agreed to allow United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country without any conditions, Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced Monday evening at UN Headquarters in New York.

The announcement came after he met earlier in the day with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab Nations, Amre Moussa.

Speaking to reporters, the Secretary-General said he believed that US President George W. Bush's speech last week at the UN had "galvanized" the international community. "As most of you heard, almost every speaker in the General Assembly urged Iraq to accept the return of the inspectors," he said.

The Secretary-General said Baghdad's decision had been conveyed to him in a letter from the Iraqi authorities, which he has forwarded to the President of the Security Council.

"[The Council] will have to decide what they do next," he said, adding that Hans Blix, chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and his team would be ready to continue their work.

Mr. Annan paid particular tribute to all the Member States, and to the Arab League, that played a key role, and thanked Mr. Moussa "for his strenuous efforts in helping to convince Iraq to allow the return of the inspectors."

ENDS

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