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Inspectors will 'actively begin work' on Monday

Annan says UN weapons inspectors will 'actively begin work' in Iraq on Monday

13 November – Confirming receipt of a letter from Baghdad accepting new United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said UN arms experts are set to commence operations in the country on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference with US President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., Mr. Annan thanked the US leader for working through the UN Security Council on the Iraq issue.

"The Council decision, which was unanimous, sent a powerful message that the entire international community would like to see the Security Council resolution implemented," he said.

The Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, will be in Iraq on Monday with his team, and they will "actively begin their work," the Secretary-General added.

Noting that the resolution was adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter - which allows for enforcement - Mr. Annan said the text "must be implemented."

The Secretary-General also said he shared President Bush's view that "every region, and people of every State, have also been victims of terrorism - this is a scourge that affects all of us, regardless of region or religion, and we need to stand together to defeat terrorism."

The UN's work, and effective implementation of its resolution 1373 - the landmark text adopted following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US - is "absolutely crucial" in this fight, the Secretary-General said. "We need to work to deprive terrorists of their opportunities, by not giving them haven, by not giving them financial and logistical support, and I think the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council is doing a good job in trying to make sure we all work together on that."

The press conference preceded a half-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House.

Earlier today, the Secretary-General was at the University of Maryland, where he received an honorary doctorate and also delivered the Anwar Sadat Memorial Lecture.

Yesterday afternoon, after arriving in Washington, D.C., the Secretary-General discussed Iraq and other topics during a meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, according to a UN spokesman.

The talks also touched on political and humanitarian aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Cyprus, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria-Cameroon territorial issues, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and US-UN issues, such as funding for the UN Population Fund and the Capital Master Plan which aims to refurbish UN premises, the spokesman reported. Mr. Annan also thanked Mr. Powell for US efforts to pay its arrears to the United Nations.

At a joint press conference after their meeting, the Secretary-General was asked whether Iraq is getting imports that it should not because of loopholes in the UN "oil-for-food" programme. "It is not excluded that there may be items which are for civilian use but may have other uses that may get through, but we try to ensure that any items that could be put to military use and are of military importance are kept out," he replied.


PRESS CONFERENCE

Washington, DC, 13 November 2002 - Secretary-General's comments to the press before meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush

SG: Thank you very much Mr. President. If I may comment on the last point you raised, I share your view entirely that every region and people of every faith have also been victims of terrorists. This is a scourge that affects all of us regardless of region or religion and we need to stand together to defeat terrorism.

And this is where the work of the United Nations and the effective implementation of its resolution 1373 is absolutely crucial. We need to work to deprive the terrorists of their opportunities by not giving them havens, by not giving them financial and logistical support, and I think the Counter Terrorism Committee of the Security Council is doing a good job in trying to make sure we all work together on it.

With regard to the Iraq issue, I want to thank you, Mr. President, for working with the United Nations and the [Security] Council and working through the Council.

I remember when you came to the UN on the 12th of September – nobody knew which way you were going to go - and in my own speech before yours I was pleading that we go the multilateral route, and I think we were all relieved that you did. And I would want to say that the Council decision, which was unanimous, sent a powerful message that the entire international community would like to see the Security Council resolutions implemented.

Today I received a letter from the Iraqi government, accepting the resolution and that they would work with the resolution. And Mr. Blix and his team will go back. We expect them to get there on the 18th, and actively begin their work. It's a Chapter VII resolution, and it must be heeded.

ENDS

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