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UN arms experts probe missile & tank parts factory


Iraq: UN arms experts probe missile and tank parts factory outside Baghdad

United Nations weapons inspectors today visited a site on the outskirts of Baghdad, a factory that mainly produces mechanical parts for the guidance and control system of missiles as well as certain aspects of T-72 tanks.

A team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) went to the Al Fatah factory of the Al Karama State Company, which began operations in 1999 and was included in the Iraqi declaration of 1 October. Today was the first time the site had been visited.

"All key buildings at the site were inspected and the objectives of the visit were successfully achieved," said Hiro Ueki, a spokesman for UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, another UNMOVIC team visited the Al Razi Medical Research Center, located some 25 kilometres west of Baghdad. According to Mr. Ueki, the site - a previously declared and monitored one - produces small amounts of diagnostic reagents for a limited number of human and animal diseases.

"The site has a few new buildings that were constructed in 1999," the spokesman said. "A full detailed inspection of all buildings was carried out to verify the declaration contents, material, equipment and activities [and] the team completed the objectives of the inspection."

IAEA teams continued simultaneous inspections in several parts of Iraq today. In Tuwaitha, the Agency completed an inventory of nuclear materials left over from Iraq's previous nuclear programme, Mr. Ueki reported.

Another unit on the western border of Iraq has finished inspections of the country's capability to extract uranium from phosphates at Al Qaim. The plant was destroyed in 1991 and has been under IAEA monitoring ever since.

A third IAEA team went to the Ibn Sina Company, formerly known as Tarmiya and the site of a uranium enrichment plant that was destroyed in 1991.

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