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US Bans Weapons Inspectors




HEADLINE: Cuban, Iranian inspectors banned by USA

The US government has struck out the names of Cuban and Iranian nationals
from a list of United Nations arms inspectors visiting US chemical arms
facilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CW). 

The USA does not have diplomatic relations with either country and the
objections have apparently been raised for political and security reasons. 
Both nations are also on a list of seven countries the US State Department
considers "terrorist states". In rejecting Cubans and Iranians, the USA
has exercised its right to determine the composition of the UN arms
inspection team currently probing US chemical weapons facilities. 

Under the rules of the CWC, any qualified expert included in a list of
arms inspectors shall be regarded as designated unless a state party
declares its non-acceptance no later than 30 days after its receipt of the
list. 

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) employs
about 126 inspectors and assistants who undertake inspections mostly in
countries that are declared possessors of chemical and biological agents.
The US is reported to have about 30,000 tons of chemical agents and Russia
about 40,000 tons.  "Ironically, the US is exercising the same right it
refuses to concede to the Iraqis," an Asian diplomat told JDW, "The US may
have the right to do so under the existing Convention, but it is
interesting to note that Iraq is virtually fighting for the same
principle," he said. 

The current deadlock in Baghdad stems from an Iraqi demand to determine
the composition of the UN arms inspection team. Since the inspection teams
consist mainly of UK and US nationals, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq
Aziz has complained they are "dominated by Anglo-Saxons."  Aziz has
accused UN inspector Scott Ritter of being "an American spy". 

The 44-member team includes 28 who are classified as arms inspectors.  Of
these, 10 are US nationals, five from the UK, three from France, two
Austrians and one each from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Finland, Germany,
India, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. 

Iraqi UN Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon told reporters that his government was
protesting that the presence of nationals of the US and UK "is affecting
the impartiality of those teams because of the very well-known hostile
American and British policy towards Iraq". 

 Jane's Information Group 1998



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