News

USIS Washington 
File

03 April 1998

UN COMPLETES INSPECTIONS OF ALL EIGHT PRESIDENTIAL SITES

(UNSCOM preparing report for Security Council) (290)

By Stephen D'Alessandro

USIA Special Correspondent



United Nations -- The special group of UN Special Commission for Iraq
(UNSOM) weapons inspectors, diplomats and representatives of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed its initial
inspections of Iraqi presidential sites, according to the United
Nations.


The team of more than 50 weapons inspectors and 20 diplomats was
scheduled to leave Iraq April 3 to return to UN headquarters in New
York City.


"UN inspectors completed inspections of eight presidential sites in
Iraq last night (April 2) after the second visit to the Republican
Palace Presidential site," a UN spokesperson said.


"It took eight days to complete the so-called baseline inspections of
the presidential sites," UN deputy spokesman Juan Carlos Brandt told a
press briefing. The inspectors and the diplomats who flew into Iraq
specifically for this initial round of inspections were preparing to
leave the country, he said.


These inspections, which began March 26, were the first conducted on
the eight presidential sites in over seven years of UNSCOM inspections
in Iraq.


Access to these sites, which Iraq had declared off limits to the
United Nations, was granted only after Secretary General Kofi Annan
signed an agreement with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during his
visit to Baghdad last month which allows UN weapons experts,
accompanied by a special group of "diplomatic observers," to inspect
the compounds.


Unfettered access to these and other sites is one of the conditions
that must be met to complete the weapons inspections and ultimately
lift UN sanctions.


A report on the palace inspections is expected to be submitted by
UNSCOM Chairman Richard Butler to the UN Security Council the week
April 6.