UN Radio reports on Weapons Inspectors Findings
Dr. Hans Blix Cites Positive Steps Taken By Iraq - More Must be Done
The UN chief weapons inspector, Dr Hans Blix, today
presented another update to the UN Security Council on
progress made on monitoring and verifiying Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction. Dr. Blix reported several positive steps
that Iraq has taken including allowing the flight of U2
planes, enabling private interviews and enacting legislation
that prohibits weapons of mass destruction.
However information on the whereabouts of unaccounted for anthrax and the nerve agent VX is still required from Iraq. In addition there were three counts of violations in terms of the long-range missiles.
On the question of intelligence from the United States, Dr. Blix referred to one case he was familiar with. He said the satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart and that the reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity, as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection.
The chief weapons inspector also asked the Council to clarify which task it had in mind for his inspection team: the elimination of weapons of mass destruction which were prohibited in 1991 - or the monitoring that no new proscribed activities occur currently?
"The latter task though not often focused upon is highly significant and not controversial. It will require monitoring which is ongoing that is open ended until the Council decides otherwise."
There is No Evidence of Prohibited Nuclear Weapons in Iraq, says IAEArs
For his part, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, Dr. Mohammed El Baradei, reiterated the conclusion reached in December 1998 that there is no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq. Dr. Elbaradei said that as reported before, the IAEA has neutralized Iraq's past nuclear programme and that, therefore, there are no unresolved disarmament issues left. He added that the focus since the resumption of inspections two and a half months ago, has been on verifying whether Iraq revived its nuclear programme. Dr. ElBaradei stressed the importance of information from states for the IAEA to help it assess the accuracy of information provided by Iraq:
"The IAEA's experience in nuclear verification shows that it is possible, particularly with an intrusive verification system, to assess the presence or absence of a nuclear weapons programme in a State even without the full cooperation of the inspected state. However, prompt, full and active cooperation by Iraq, as required under resolution 1441, will speed up the process." Dr. ElBaradei said such cooperation would enable the IAEA to reach a high degree of assurance as required by the Security Council.
Foreign Ministers Express Their Views on Ira
qThe Foreign Ministers of the Members of the Security Council have been speaking following the presentation of the reports by weapons inspectors. The Foreign minister of Syria noted that while the focus on the defiance of UN resolution was on Iraq, Israel continued to defy other UN resolutions. To much unusual applause from the Security Council chamber the Foreign Minister of France said the use of force against Iraq was not justified at this time. He said disarming Iraq through inspections was an alternative to war. For China, its foreign minister said that his country was ready to provide needed resources to strengthen inspections in Iraq.