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UNSG press encounter with announcement on Iraq

New York, 16 September 2002 - Secretary-General's press encounter with announcement on Iraq

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

A lot has happened in this building since Thursday. I believe the President's speech galvanized the international community. As most of you heard, almost every speaker in the General Assembly urged Iraq to accept the return of the inspectors.

And I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.

I would want to pay particular tribute to all the Member States, and to the Arab League, who played a key role in this, and to thank Secretary-General Amre Moussa of the Arab League for his strenuous efforts in helping to convince Iraq to allow the return of the inspectors.

I am now passing the letter on to the Security Council and they will have to decide what they do next, and of course Mr. [Hans] Blix [Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission] and his team will be ready to continue with their work.

Thank you very much.


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