Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  
sassa

Iraq to Make Early Weapons Declaration

Recommended Posts

Iraq to make early weapons declaration

Staff and agencies

Tuesday December 3, 2002

Iraq said today it would hand the UN security council a declaration about weapons programmes on December 7, one day ahead of the deadline.

As UN weapons inspectors made their first unannounced visit to Saddam Hussein's presidential palalces, an Iraqi official stressed that the declaration would not necessarily include an admission that the country had attempted to produce banned weapons.

The UN security council set a deadline of December 8 for the Iraqis to supply a complete list of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate, said today: "We are going to deliver this declaration in the proper time on the seventh of this month and the people here, the Unmovic [united Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission] and IAEA [international Atomic Energy Agency], will take this declaration to New York and Vienna."

He said the declaration would contain "new elements", but "will not, shall we say, necessarily include a declaration of the presence of weapons of mass destruction".

"We are a country devoid of weapons of mass destruction. This fact is known to all countries including the United States of America and Britain and all those concerned," Mr Amin told reporters.

Today's unannounced visits to President Saddam's palaces represents a test of new powers to inspect for weapons of mass destruction anywhere, any time.

On the sixth day of inspections, two palaces were searched in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, after the United Nations announced that some equipment that inspectors were interested in had been missing when they visited a missile-related site.

A UN convoy rolled up to the gates of the al-Sajoud palace, in west Baghdad. The guards, no doubt aware that inspectors would visit at some point, even if the timing would be a surprise, opened the huge gates and allowed the half-dozen UN vehicles inside with minimal delay.

A few minutes later, President Saddam's presidential secretary, Abid Hamoud, arrived in a four-wheel-drive vehicle and entered the sprawling grounds by the Tigris river.

A second team of UN inspectors arrived at the main presidential palace, Karadah, in central Baghdad. The palace was inaugurated in 1957 for the last monarch, King Faisal II. The palaces contain both living quarters and offices. It was not known if President Saddam was in either of the palaces today.

Access to the president's many presidential sites was a contentious issue in the previous round of inspections in the 1990s. The Iraqis sought to bar those UN inspectors and it required personal negotiations between the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, and President Saddam to reach an accommodation whereby inspectors could then visit with diplomatic escort and notice.

The international teams later inspected such presidential sites, finding nothing.

A UN security council resolution adopted last month superseded such arrangements, mandating unrestricted free, unannounced access to all Iraqi sites.

Yesterday, inspectors searched the Karama ballistic design plant in Baghdad, where they conducted their longest search yet, spending six hours looking for signs of outlawed Iraqi missiles. The plant's deputy director, Brig Mohammed Salah, said: "They didn't find anything."

Until yesterday, the longest inspections had lasted about four hours, some much less. The inspectors, as usual, had no immediate comment for waiting journalists. But a UN report later said that some equipment of interest at Karama had been missing. The Iraqis said some of the missing equipment had been destroyed in US air attacks and some had been transferred.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×