Tags: Blix: | Iraq | Inspection | Talks | 'Fruitful'

Blix: Iraq Inspection Talks 'Fruitful'

Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:00 AM

Weapons inspection leader Hans Blix said that the discussions focused on a mechanism for the inspection mission in Iraq and were "positive and fruitful."

Blix, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammad ElBaradei and a number of inspectors flew to Cyprus aboard a U.N. plane. Remaining in Baghdad to continue preparations to execute the U.N. resolution on Iraqi weapons inspections were some 20 other logistical experts. The preparations include the rehabilitation and expansion of the headquarters of U.N. inspectors at al-Qanat hotel in central Baghdad.

The U.N. team of inspectors are scheduled to begin their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq Wednesday.

During a news conference in Baghdad late Tuesday, Blix said the purpose of the two-day talks was to building confidence between the two sides ahead of the inspection operations.

"We agreed with the Iraqi side on the mechanism that would be referred to in case differences emerge between the two sides in the future," he said, expecting the inspection to resume in the coming two weeks.

Blix and ElBaradei had separate talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri and head of the Iraqi negotiating team Lt. Gen. Amer al Saadi, who is President Saddam Hussein's consultant responsible for the weapons of mass destruction file.

ElBaradei said the Iraqi officials pledged during the talks "complete commitment and cooperation with the international inspection teams to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution 1441."

Resolution 1441 is the U.S.-introduced measure recently passed by the Security Council in a unanimous vote that reordered the weapons inspectors back to Iraq.

ElBaradei expressed hope that the agreement with the Iraqi officials be "translated into practical steps" and said the inspection teams will return to Baghdad next week to start their operations.

"A new phase started after Resolution 1441 and we should not look back to the past but to the future," ElBaradei said. "We pledged to the Iraqis that we will operate with all honesty and objectivity."

Asked about removing Israeli weapons of mass destruction, he said: "Let's start first with solving the Iraqi problem because this would help make the Middle East a free-weapons area."

Al Saadi, a member of the Iraqi negotiating team, said the talks with Blix and ElBaradei were "positive and constructive" and praised both officials for their "cooperation and professionalism."

He said Iraq and the U.N. inspectors had "same point of view" and hoped that Blix and ElBaradei fulfill their promises for conducting the inspection teams with "professionalism."

Asked whether Iraq will submit its arms inventory to the United Nations within the 30-day notice defined in Resolution 1441, al Saadi said: "We have no new program and we say with all honesty that we will again submit clear clarifications about these programs."

Meanwhile in Jordan, Iraq's neighbor to the southwest, government officials announced three Jordanian experts in biological and chemical sciences will join the team of international inspectors.

The newspaper daily al-Dustur quoted sources as saying the three experts represented the Jordanian armed forces as well as to academic scientific departments and were specially trained in inspection for non-conventional weapons.

Iraq has called for Arab experts, particularly from the Arab League, to conduct inspections along with those of the United Nations. Blix also noted in recent statements that the United Nations would enlist the help of Arab experts.

The Jordanian experts were chosen following the endorsement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1284 under which the international monitoring and investigation committee for Iraq was set up.

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Weapons inspection leader Hans Blix said that the discussions focused on a mechanism for the inspection mission in Iraq and were "positive and fruitful." Blix, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammad ElBaradei and a number of inspectors flew to Cyprus...
Blix:,Iraq,Inspection,Talks,'Fruitful'
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Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:00 AM
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