News



DATE=4/3/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229184
TITLE=IRAQ / U-N (L)
BYLINE=DOUGLAS ROBERTS
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  UNITED NATIONS ARMS EXPERTS HAVE COMPLETED THEIR INITIAL 
INSPECTIONS OF IRAQ'S PRESIDENTIAL PALACES.  V-O-A MIDDLE EAST 
CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS U-N OFFICIALS SAY THE 
NINE-DAY MISSION WENT WELL, AND THEY PRAISED THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT
FOR COOPERATING WITH THE INSPECTORS. 

TEXT:  U-N ENVOY JAYANTHA DHANAPALA TERMED THE FIRST EVER 
INSPECTIONS OF IRAQ'S EIGHT PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS A SUCCESS.

MR. DHANAPALA HEADS THE TEAM OF 20 DIPLOMATS WHO ACCOMPANIED THE 
ARMS EXPERTS TO EACH OF THE PALACES, UNDER THE TERMS OF 
FEBRUARY'S AGREEMENT BETWEEN IRAQ AND THE UNITED NATIONS.

MR. DHANAPALA SAID THAT ACCORD HAS NOW PASSED ITS FIRST TEST, 
OPENING WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS A FRESH CHAPTER IN IRAQ'S TIES WITH 
THE U-N.

IRAQ'S DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TARIQ AZIZ ALSO PRAISED THE RESULTS 
OF THE INSPECTION, CALLING IT A TRIUMPH OF TRUTH OVER FALSEHOOD. 
MR. AZIZ SAID THE U-N TEAM WAS ABLE TO REFUTE WHAT HE CALLED U-S 
AND BRITISH ALLEGATIONS THAT IRAQ IS CONCEALING MATERIAL RELATED 
TO ITS WEAPONS PROGRAMS AT THE PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS.

THE ARMS EXPERTS COMPLETED THEIR MISSION WITH A SECOND VISIT LATE
THURSDAY TO THE REPUBLICAN PALACE IN BAGHDAD, THE SEAT OF THE 
IRAQI GOVERNMENT WHERE PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN CONDUCTS MOST OF 
HIS OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

MR. DHANAPALA ACKNOWLEDGED THE SENSITIVITY OF THAT INSPECTION, 
BUT HE SAID THERE WERE  NO  PROBLEMS.  AND HE PRAISED WHAT HE 
CALLED THE COOPERATIVE SPIRIT OF IRAQI AUTHORITIES.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AZIZ AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS ACCOMPANIED
THE U-N TEAM TO EACH OF THE PALACES.  AND MR. DHANAPALA SAID 
THEIR PRESENCE HELPED OVERCOME WHAT HE TERMED SOME MINOR 
DIFFICULTIES.

MR. DHANAPALA AND THE HEAD OF THE INSPECTION TEAM, AMERICAN 
CHARLES DUELFER, ARE NOW PREPARING SEPARATE REPORTS ON THE 
MISSION.

THE DIPLOMATS AND MOST OF THE ARMS EXPERTS ARE SCHEDULED TO LEAVE
BAGHDAD ON SATURDAY, BUT RETURN VISITS TO THE PRESIDENTIAL 
COMPOUNDS ARE EXPECTED IN THE WEEKS AHEAD, AND THE INSPECTION 
PROCESS WILL CONTINUE IN THE MEANTIME WITH VISITS TO OTHER SITES.

U-N OFFICIALS CONFIRM THAT THE INSPECTORS FOUND  NO  EVIDENCE 
RELATED TO IRAQ'S WEAPONS PROGRAMS AT THE PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS,
BUT SAY THEY HAD  NOT  EXPECTED TO FIND ANY.

U-N OFFICIALS POINT OUT THAT IRAQI AUTHORITIES HAD PLENTY OF TIME
TO REMOVE ANY POTENTIALLY DAMAGING EVIDENCE FROM THE PALACES 
BEFORE THE INSPECTIONS BEGAN.  AND THEY NOTE THAT THESE INITIAL 
VISITS WERE INTENDED ONLY AS BASE-LINE SURVEYS, WITH THE 
INSPECTORS SPENDING ONLY A FEW MINUTES IN EACH OF THE MORE THAN 
ONE-THOUSAND BUILDINGS CONTAINED IN THE PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS.

BUT U-N OFFICIALS SAY THE VISITS ESTABLISHED AN IMPORTANT 
PRECEDENT, DEMONSTRATING THE U-N'S RIGHT TO ENTER AREAS THAT IRAQ
HAD LONG DECLARED OFF-LIMITS.  (SIGNED) 

NEB/DBR/JWH

03-Apr-98 11:03 AM EST (1603 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.