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Iraqi letters no obstacle to return of inspectors

New points raised in Iraqi letters no obstacle to return of UN inspectors, Blix says

15 October – Recent communications from Iraq were not a sign that Baghdad was reneging on agreements reached early this month in Vienna on the return of United Nations weapons inspector, the chief UN monitor said today.

Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), told reporters there were some points raised by Iraq in two recent letters that needed clarification, but that he did not expect them to be a serious obstacle to the return of UN inspectors after a nearly four-year absence.

“There are some loose ends, yes, and I reported on those to the Council” today, said Mr. Blix outside the Council’s chambers following his briefing. But “I don’t think the remaining ones are of such a nature that we would have delayed deployment because of them.”

As for any timetable for when the inspectors would actually arrive in Iraq, Mr. Blix stressed that his team was waiting for a new Security Council resolution before proceeding. He reiterated that it would be better to have a new mandate in place before heading to Iraq rather than receiving different instructions from the Council after the team has been deployed and begun its work.

“We have waited now for nearly four years, so we’ll have a little patience with the Security Council,” Mr. Blix said. “What I hear from the members of the Council is that they are themselves impatient to get to such a resolution.” He said such a resolution may contain, “and we have seen some signs, of things that may affect us, so it is better to have a little patience with [the Council].”

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