News

20 March 1998

EXCERPTS: UN SPOKESMAN'S DAILY BRIEFING FOR MARCH 19, 1998


United Nations -- Juan-Carlos Brandt, Senior Associate Spokesman for
the Secretary General, briefed.

Following is the UN text of the summary:

(begin text)

19 March 1998
Press Briefing

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OF OFFICE OF SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL

Juan-Carlos Brandt, 
Senior Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General

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Mr. Brandt also informed correspondents that the Commissioner of the
special group charged with the inspection of the eight presidential
sites in Iraq, Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala, had
announced in Geneva today the initial composition of the special
group. He said that he had sent a letter to 60 diplomatic missions in
New York, inviting them to appoint two diplomats each above the rank
of senior counsellor, preferably Arabic speaking and knowing the
region, and able to come at short notice to Baghdad.


He said 28 countries had responded positively. Out of the list, 20
diplomats had been identified to carry out the initial eight visits.
They had been alerted and were due to arrive in Baghdad early next
week. Only two of them were based in Baghdad. The 20 documents came
from 20 countries. A list of those diplomats was available at the
Spokesman's office since this morning. The inspections were expected
to start late next week.


The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Prakash Shah, was
due to arrive in Baghdad on Sunday, 22 March, Mr. Brandt continued.
The Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission
(UNSCOM) on disarmament of Iraq, Richard Butler, and Mr. Dhanapala
would also arrive in Baghdad the same day.


Regarding the financing of Iraqi pilgrims to Mecca, the Senior
Associate Spokesman said that the Permanent Representative of Iraq,
Nizar Hamdoon, had yesterday notified the Chairman of the 661
Committee, which oversaw the sanctions on Iraq, that there was no
longer any practical usefulness in continuing the discussion on that
matter. So the matter was closed. That notification would be issued as
a Security Council document later.

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