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[casi] vote to take place on Wednesday?

The latest rumour is that the vote may be on Wenesday (see the Reuters
report below).

Best wishes,

voices uk


U.N.-Iraq Talks End; No Decision on Inspectors
Fri May 3, 4:00 PM ET
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iraq and the United Nations (news - web sites) on
Friday ended three days of detailed talks on disarmament programs but there
was no breakthrough on the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Baghdad,
diplomats said.

 Calling the talks "useful, frank and focused," Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji
Sabri told reporters there would be another round of discussions, the third
this year with U.N Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites).

The first meeting was on March 7 on the U.N. weapons inspectors, key to
easing U.N. sanctions against Iraq, imposed when Baghdad's troops invaded
Kuwait in August 1990.

The first went into Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites),
spending seven years checking into weapons of mass destruction. They left
before the United States and Britain bombed Iraq in December 1998 to punish
Baghdad for not cooperating with inspectors and have not been allowed to
return since then. Iraq says it has complied with U.N. demands.

With U.S. threats to topple President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) and
U.S. bombing over no-flight zones, Iraqi officials were cautious about
making any definitive commitments, the diplomats said.

Sabri's 15-member delegation included at least four high-level arms experts
on nuclear, chemical and other weapons and technical fields. Diplomats
described the talks as serious and focused on core issues that have kept
Iraq under U.N. sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

"This was the first time in several years that Iraq and United Nations
technical experts have been able to talk shop," U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard

The Iraqi experts spent Thursday discussing weapons programs and sizing up
chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix.

He is executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission, known as UNMOVIC, in charge of ridding Iraq of biological,
chemical and ballistic missile programs. With him was Mohamed ElBaradei,
director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, responsible for
nuclear weapons.

Before the talks began, Sabri as well as Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed
Aldouri, said they would raise all pending issues: the U.S.-British imposed
no-fly zone, American threats against Baghdad, and the lifting of the

Nevertheless, admission of the inspectors might be Iraq's best chance of
putting off a military showdown with the United States. The Bush
administration has made no secret of its intention to move against Saddam at
some point, saying Iraq was probably accumulating dangerous arms.


The Security Council is moving closer to a vote on a revision of Iraqi
sanctions regulations, possibly on Wednesday following agreement among key
council members.

These would allow the freer flow of civilian supplies to Iraq but include a
"goods review list" of items with possible military use that need to be
approved by council members. Russia and the United States have agreed on the

Currently, many items, except food and medicine, are subject to a separate
review by council members, any one of whom can block a contract.

The new regulations are part of the oil-for-food program, which is renewed
every six months. The program allows Iraq to sell oil and use the money for
food, medicine and a host of other goods to ease the impact of sanctions on
the population.

They are the only remaining element of American "smart sanctions" proposals.
Tighter monitoring of Iraq's borders to prevent smuggling was rejected by
neighboring nations.

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