News


DATE=3/11/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-227958
TITLE=IRAQ / U-N (L)
BYLINE=AL PESSIN
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  THE CHIEF OF THE SPECIAL UNITED NATIONS TEAMS WHICH WILL 
INSPECT IRAQ'S PRESIDENTIAL SITES FLEW TO BAGHDAD WEDNESDAY TO 
BEGIN MAKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR THOSE INSPECTIONS.  V-O-A'S AL 
PESSIN REPORTS FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU IN CAIRO.

TEXT:  SRI LANKAN DIPLOMAT JAYANTHA DHANAPALA TOLD IRAQI 
TELEVISION HE IS MAKING HIS FIRST VISIT TO BAGHDAD TO LAY THE 
GROUNDWORK FOR U-N INSPECTIONS OF EIGHT PRESIDENTIAL SITES.

UNDER THE U-N / IRAQ AGREEMENT REACHED LAST MONTH, WHICH AVERTED 
U-S AIRSTRIKES, IRAQ AGREED TO ALLOW U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS INTO 
THE SITES AS LONG AS THEY ARE ACCOMPANIED BY DIPLOMATS.  

MR. DHANAPALA, THE U-N UNDERSECRETARY-GENERAL FOR DISARMAMENT, IS
REPORTED TO HAVE A PLAN IN HAND FOR DOING THAT, AND HE IS SEEKING
FINAL IRAQI APPROVAL.  HE HAS ALREADY ASKED SEVERAL COUNTRIES TO 
PROVIDE DIPLOMATS FOR THE INSPECTION TEAMS, INCLUDING THE UNITED 
STATES AND BRITAIN, WHICH HAVE TAKEN THE TOUGHEST ATTITUDE TOWARD
IRAQ'S ALLEGED WEAPONS PROGRAM.

THE INSPECTIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN BY THE END OF THE MONTH.

REPORTERS WERE KEPT AWAY FROM MR. DHANAPALA ON WEDNESDAY AT THE 
UNITED NATIONS' REQUEST.  IRAQ HAS COMPLAINED ABOUT COMMENTS TO 
THE MEDIA BY WEAPONS INSPECTORS, AND ASKED U-N SECRETARY GENERAL 
KOFI ANNAN TO PUT AN END TO CONTACTS BETWEEN INSPECTORS AND 
REPORTERS.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS CONTINUED TO VISIT  
NON-PRESIDENTIAL SITES.  ACCORDING TO THE IRAQI NEWS AGENCY NINE 
U-N TEAMS VISITED A TOTAL OF 11 SITES, INCLUDING ONE THAT HAD TO 
BE REACHED BY HELICOPTER.  U-N OFFICIALS HAVE EXPRESSED 
SATISFACTION THAT THE LATEST ROUND OF INSPECTIONS ARE GOING 
SMOOTHLY, WITH  NO  IRAQI ATTEMPTS TO INTERFERE.  

THAT INCLUDED INSPECTIONS OF SEVERAL SENSITIVE SITES IN RECENT 
DAYS BY A TEAM LED BY AMERICAN SCOTT RITTER, WHO IRAQ ACCUSED OF 
SPYING IN JANUARY.  MR. RITTER AND MOST OF HIS 50-MEMBER TEAM 
LEFT IRAQ TUESDAY AFTER THREE DAYS OF WORK.

IRAQ SAYS IT WANTS THE INSPECTIONS COMPLETED QUICKLY TO PROVE IT 
HAS  NO  WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, SO U-N ECONOMIC SANCTIONS 
CAN BE REMOVED.  BUT WESTERN EXPERTS SAY IRAQ DOES HAVE SUCH  
WEAPONS, AND THE MEANS TO PRODUCE MORE, AND THEY PREDICT ANOTHER 
CRISIS THE NEXT TIME THE INSPECTORS GET CLOSE TO FINDING THEM.  
(SIGNED)

NEB/AWP/JWH

11-Mar-98 11:07 AM EST (1607 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.