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UN Weapons Inspector Outlines Plan



UN Weapons Inspector Outlines Plan

By Nicole Winfield
Associated Press Writer
Friday, April 7, 2000; 2:52 a.m. EDT

UNITED NATIONS -- The new chief U.N. weapons inspector for Iraq has outlined
an organization plan for his new agency that stresses arms experts will work
only for the United Nations and not for any country's government.

That distinction was a clear sign Hans Blix doesn't want his organization to
be hit by the same allegations of spying on behalf of the United States that
crippled its predecessor, the U.N. Special Commission.

Inspectors at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
will be picked from a broad spectrum of U.N. member countries and be paid
out of the U.N. budget - not volunteered by, or under orders from, member
governments, Blix wrote in his first report since becoming executive
chairman of UNMOVIC on March 1.

"They shall neither seek nor receive instructions from any government and
... member states shall not seek to influence them in the discharge of their
responsibilities," the report said.

Notably, Blix's report indicated he has decided against having a deputy - a
position that traditionally went to the United States in UNMOVIC's
predecessor organization.

Blix further stressed that intelligence gathered by inspectors must remain
with the agency and be used only for its key disarmament work.

Blix's agency was created in December to replace UNSCOM, which had been
working with the International Atomic Energy Agency since 1991 to oversee
the destruction of Iraq's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and
missile programs.

Weapons inspectors from both agencies left Iraq in December 1998 ahead of
U.S. and British airstrikes, launched to punish Iraq for failing to
cooperate with the inspectors.

Top Iraqi officials have said Baghdad would not accept new U.N. weapons
inspectors, but others have hinted at compromise.

Blix acknowledged that Baghdad had so far rejected new U.N. calls for
inspections. He said the organization need only hire a core staff now, with
the remainder to be added later.

In outlining the agency's mission, Blix said UNMOVIC must make inspections
including "no-notice" searches that often led to drawn-out confrontations
between UNSCOM inspectors and Iraqi officials.

Blix added that the new agency also must be able to take aerial photographs.
The United States traditionally provided UNSCOM with U2 planes to conduct
aerial surveillance.

 Copyright 2000 The Associated Press


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