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UN inspection commission and Iraq start talks

UN weapons inspection commission and Iraq start talks, agree to meet again in Vienna

17 September – The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), which is charged with disarming Iraq, held a "useful" meeting with the country's officials today on the resumption of inspections.

In a statement to the press, UNMOVIC said it had provided the Iraqi officials with a list of practical arrangements related to getting inspectors back into the country following a nearly four-year absence.

The Iraqi side said it needed some time to study and consult in Baghdad about these practical arrangements, according to the statement.

UNMOVIC and Iraq agreed that further talks would "take place and be concluded at a meeting in Vienna in the week beginning 30 September," the statement said, noting that the timing remains undecided as UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix needs to be available to the Security Council.

At the meeting in the Austrian capital, Iraq will provide UNMOVIC with the backlog of its semi-annual monitoring declarations. In addition, Iraq will consider national legislation based on models provided by UNMOVIC concerning the prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction activities.

"Both sides believe it was a useful meeting and the Iraqi delegation welcomed the resumption of inspections," UNMOVIC said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Iraqi official Saeed Hasan echoed this view, calling discussions "fruitful."

"We received documents from Mr. Blix on this issue and we agreed to meet in Vienna in 10 days to finalize the practical arrangements," he said. "Also in this meeting we reiterated and expressed the readiness of Iraq for the speedy and smooth resumption of UNMOVIC and IAEA activities." In addition, the talks touched on "issues relating to our future common work."

Mr. Hasan said Iraq was "looking forward to meeting with Ambassador Blix and UNMOVIC officials to finalize the work and go ahead in order to implement fully all the provisions of Security Council resolutions in order to lift sanctions and return the situation to normal."

*******************************

...UNMOVIC STATEMENT FOLLOWS...

UNMOVIC Statement to the Press

UNMOVIC and Iraq have held preliminary talks at UN headquarters in New York this afternoon about practical arrangements related to the resumption of inspections, as a follow-up from earlier talks in Vienna in July this year. UNMOVIC provided the Iraqi side with a list of such practical arrangements.

The Iraqi side said it needed some time to study and consult in Baghdad about these practical arrangements.

It was agreed that further talks would take place and be concluded at a meeting in Vienna in the week beginning 30 September, the exact timing of the meeting being subject to the Executive Chairman’s need to be available to the Security Council.

The Iraqi delegation said it would provide UNMOVIC with the backlog of semi-annual monitoring declarations at the meeting in Vienna.

National legislation by Iraq prohibiting WMD activities, as called for in the monitoring plan approved by Security Council resolution 715 of 1991, will be considered by Iraq on the basis of models to be provided shortly by UNMOVIC.

Both sides believe it was a useful meeting and the Iraqi delegation welcomed the resumption of inspections.

The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission

(UNMOVIC)

New York

17 September 2002

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