News


DATE=3/28/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-228876
TITLE=IRAQ / U-N (L)
BYLINE=DOUGLAS ROBERTS
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  U-N ARMS INSPECTORS LEFT BAGHDAD SATURDAY TO SEARCH IRAQI
PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS NORTH OF THE CAPITAL.  V-O-A MIDDLE EAST 
CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS, U-N OFFICIALS SAY THE 
INSPECTORS HAVE ENCOUNTERED FEW PROBLEMS SINCE BEGINNING THEIR 
FIRST VISITS TO THE PRESIDENTIAL SITES EARLIER THIS WEEK. 

TEXT:  THE U-N INSPECTORS, AND AN ACCOMPANYING TEAM OF DIPLOMATS,
ARE EXPECTED TO SPEND THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS IN CENTRAL AND 
NORTHWESTERN IRAQ.

THEY TRAVELLED FIRST TO THE TOWN OF TIKRIT, ON THE BANKS OF THE 
TIGRIS, TO INSPECT A PRESIDENTIAL PALACE IN THE HOMETOWN OF IRAQI
LEADER SADDAM HUSSEIN.

LATER, THE U-N TEAM WILL GO ON TO MOSUL, JUST ABOUT 300 
KILOMETERS FARTHER NORTH, TO INSPECT ANOTHER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL 
COMPOUNDS.

THE INSPECTORS SPENT THE PAST TWO DAYS SEARCHING THE RADWANIYAH 
COMPLEX ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF BAGHDAD.

U-N OFFICIALS REPORTED WHAT THEY TERMED A MINOR PROBLEM 
CONCERNING THE GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARY OF THE SPRAWLING COMPLEX.  
BUT THEY SAID THE MATTER WAS QUICKLY RESOLVED IN TALKS WITH 
IRAQ'S DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TARIQ AZIZ AND ANOTHER SENIOR 
OFFICIAL, WHO ACCOMPANIED THE INSPECTION TEAM TO THE PALACE.

THE VISITS MARK THE FIRST TIME THE U-N ARMS EXPERTS HAVE 
CONDUCTED FORMAL INSPECTIONS OF ANY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL SITES -- 
WHICH WERE PREVIOUSLY DECLARED OFF-LIMITS BY IRAQI AUTHORITIES.

BAGHDAD AUTHORIZED THE INSPECTIONS AFTER THE U-N AGREED TO SEND A
TEAM OF DIPLOMATS ALONG WITH THE ARMS EXPERTS.

THE AGREEMENT, WORKED OUT LAST MONTH BY SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI 
ANNAN, HELPED AVERT A MAJOR MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST IRAQ BY A U-S
LED COALITION OF FORCES ASSEMBLED IN THE PERSIAN GULF.

U-N OFFICIALS SAY IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE ANOTHER TEN DAYS TO 
COMPLETE THE INAUGURAL INSPECTIONS OF THE EIGHT PRESIDENTIAL 
COMPOUNDS, WHICH TOGETHER COVER AN AREA OF 31 SQUARE KILOMETERS 
AND INCLUDE MORE THAN ONE-THOUSAND BUILDINGS.

U-N OFFICIALS DO  NOT  EXPECT TO TURN UP ANY MATERIAL OR 
DOCUMENTS RELATED TO IRAQI WEAPONS PROGRAMS.  THEY POINT OUT THAT
IRAQI AUTHORITIES HAVE HAD PLENTY OF TIME TO REMOVE ANY 
POTENTIALLY DAMAGING EVIDENCE FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS.

                        /// REST OPT ///

BUT THE U-N IS NONETHELESS EMPHASIZING THAT THE PALACE 
INSPECTIONS MARK AN IMPORTANT PRECEDENT IN THE SEVEN-YEAR EFFORT 
TO VERIFY THE ELIMINATION OF IRAQ'S NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL, AND 
CHEMICAL WEAPONS ,AS WELL AS THE DESTRUCTION OF ITS LONG RANGE 
MISSILES.

THE U-N IS USING THESE INITIAL INSPECTIONS TO SET BASELINE 
REFERENCE  POINTS ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS.  RETURN 
VISITS TO EACH OF THE SITES ARE EXPECTED IN THE MONTHS AHEAD.  
(SIGNED) 

NEB/DBR/JWH/JO

28-Mar-98 9:42 AM EST (1442 UTC)
NNNN

Source: Voice of America
.