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UN Radio: Europe Key Role To Play In Iraqi Crisis


Annan Says Europe Has Key Role To Play In Iraqi Crisis

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Secretary-General Kofi Annan says Europe has a key role to play in the Iraqi crisis. Noting that a war in Iraq was not inevitable, the Secretary-General says the European role would not be just on the political and other aspects, but also on the possible humanitarian consequences of the conflict. Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting with Italian president Silvio Berlusconi, the Secretary-General described their discussion as "fruitful," saying the focus was on Iraq. He insisted that Iraq should comply with the Security Council resolution that sent the inspectors back to Baghdad. Mr. Annan also drew attention to his meeting with European leaders in Brussels Monday in which they stressed that Iraq must disarm and act immediately to work proactively with the UN inspectors.

First U2 Flight In Operation - UNMOVIC Tags Iraqi Missiles

The first U2 aircraft flew over Iraq on Sunday. Permitting the use of U2 surveillance planes has been part of chief UN weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix's demands for Iraqi cooperation. The Iraqis had raised objections about whether they could guarantee the safety of the American aircraft. But according to Dr. Blix's spokesman, Ewen Buchanan, the objections have apparently dissipated.

"This obviously increases our abilities we have in terms of reconnaisance and we hope in the not too distant future to add extra assets to our area reconaisance, including Mirage 4 aircraft provided by France, Antonov 30 aircraft provided by the Russian Federation and also drones which are provided to us by the German government."

In addition, the UN monitoring commission on the ground has started tagging missiles that are capable of flying beyond the 150 km limit permitted by the UN Security Council. The tamper-proof seals will allow UNMOVIC to keep track of the whereabouts of the equipment.

UNMOVIC Teams Continue Inspections In Ira

qThere were a number of inspections Tuesday. Four missile teams inspected five separate sites. And according to the spokesman for the UN monitoring commission, Hiro Ueki, some of the inspections were related to the Al-Samoud missile which was considered proscribed. In addition:

"UNMOVIC chemical and multidisciplinary teams went to al-Mutanna to continue the process of destroying the artillery shells filled with mustard. Due to weather conditions however, the team postponed the work."

Chemical and biological teams also made inspections of several sites.

UNICEF Pushes Ahead With Polio And Measles Campaigns In Iraq

International health workers are expected to fan out across Iraq from next Monday to immunize more than 4 million children against polio. The UN children's agency (UNICEF) said it is also supporting an accelerated campaign against measles, which spreads rapidly within displaced populations and kills more children than any other disease. UNICEF spokesman Alfred Ironside says the agency feels the need to push forward with the polio immunization to try and eliminate the disease.

"The measles campaign is also an ongoing campaign but we are accelerating it because time is kind of an unpredictable commodity right now and UNICEF feels we need to take advantage of what time we have to make sure kids get their measles immunization."

Besides UNICEF, the campaigns are supported by the World Health Organization and the Red Crescent.


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