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[casi] Update- UN Weapons Inspectors

ElBaradei Warns of Iraq Nuclear Emergency

VIENNA (Reuters) - The head of the United Nations (news - web sites) nuclear
watchdog agency warned on Monday that a nuclear contamination emergency may
be developing in Iraq and appealed to the United States to let his experts
back into the country.

"I am deeply concerned by the almost daily reports of looting and
destruction at nuclear sites," International Atomic Energy Agency chief
Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement.

He said he was especially worried "about the potential radiological safety
and security implications of nuclear and radiological materials that may no
longer be under control."

He said the reports the IAEA has received described uranium being emptied on
the ground from containers then taken for domestic use and radioactive
sources being stolen and removed from their shielding.

"We have a moral responsibility to establish the facts without delay and
take urgent remedial action," ElBaradei said.

The U.N. agency has warned that stolen radioactive material could end up in
the hands of terrorists who could use it to make dirty bombs, which combine
radioactive material with a conventional explosive like dynamite to spread
it over a wide area and is aimed more at causing panic than physical damage.

The IAEA chief first asked the United States on April 10 to secure nuclear
material stored under U.N. seal at Iraq's Tuwaitha nuclear research center
and was promised by the United States that its military would keep the site

One of the sources stored at Tuwaitha is caesium 137, a highly radioactive
powder that would be especially dangerous in a dirty bomb. In 1987, a
canister of caesium powder found in a Brazil junkyard exposed 249 people to
radiation, killing four.

After numerous media reports that Tuwaitha and other nuclear facilities in
Iraq had been looted, ElBaradei wrote again to the U.S. on April 29
requesting permission to send a mission to Iraq to investigate the looting

The IAEA has received no response from Washington and said that the
contamination in Iraq could lead to a "serious humanitarian situation."

There have already been media reports that residents near Tuwaitha have
exhibited symptoms of radiation sickness.

There are more than 1,000 other radioactive sources in Iraq, many of which
were stored at Tuwaitha.

May 20, 2003  London Times,,5944-686385,00.html
US may open door to UN inspectors
>From James Bone in New York

THE United States opened the door to a possible future role for United
Nations weapons inspections in Iraq last night as one of a series of
concessions aimed at getting UN sanctions lifted as early as tomorrow.
Britain, Spain and the United States tabled a revised draft resolution
enhancing the powers of the UN in postwar Iraq in a bid to win the backing
of France, Russia and other sceptical Security Council members in a vote
this week.

The amendments would boost the status of the UN envoy to Iraq, increase the
authority of the international board overseeing its oil sales and wind down
the UN’s Oil-for-Food programme over six months rather than four.

For the first time since the war, the United States signalled that it might
be willing to accept a future role for the UN weapons inspectors — a point
of conflict even with its close ally, Britain.

Under existing UN resolutions, the UN inspectors from the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Monitoring and Verification
Commission (Unmovic) are required to certify Iraq free of weapons of mass
destruction before UN sanctions are finally ended.

American officials, angered by the inspectors’ performance before the war,
have made clear that they saw no role for them in the foreseeable future.
Despite Britain’s pleadings behind the scenes, the original draft made no
mention of UN inspectors returning to the country to certify it
weapons-free. Russia and France both objected that sanctions should only be
suspended, rather than formally lifted, until the inspectors were able to
complete their work.

The latest proposal does not concede that the UN inspectors will definitely
return to Iraq, but it leaves open the possibility by “reaffirming the
importance of . . . the eventual confirmation of the disarmament of Iraq”.
It also promises that the Security Council will “revisit the mandates of
Unmovic and the IAEA”. The drafting change represents a victory for the
British Government, which is hoping to persuade the Bush Administration to
allow the UN inspectors back into Iraq once Hans Blix, their chief, retires
at the end of June.

The new draft also offers a clearer description of the political role of a
UN envoy — now called a special representative rather than merely a special
co-ordinator. Many Security Council members had expressed concern that the
UN envoy would be forced into a subordinate role to that of the coalition
authority. The new text makes clear that the UN representative in Iraq will
have “independent responsibilities”.

A key paragraph says that these responsibilities would include “working
intensively with the (coalition) authority, the people of Iraq and others
concerned to advance efforts to restore and establish national and local
institutions for representative governance, including by collaborating to
facilitate a process leading to an internationally recognised representative
government of Iraq”.

The powers of the international board overseeing Iraq’s oil sales would also
be enhanced. In the original draft, its role was “advisory”. Now it is
described as an “advisory and monitoring board”.

In further concessions, the draft also calls for Britain and the United
States to report “periodically” to the Security Council and says that their
mandate as occupying powers will come to an end as soon as an
internationally recognised, representative government is set up.

Most Security Council countries gave no immediate reaction to the changes
but, with most members ready to lift sanctions, neither Russia nor France
control the votes needed to block passage of the resolution without
exercising their veto — which they are not expected to do.

Britain is hoping for a consensus on the Council, although it is unlikely
that Syria will support the proposal. France and Russia are said to be
wavering between a positive vote and an abstention.

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