United Nations, 9 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Experts have begun reviewing Iraq's official declaration on its weapons programs. News agencies are reporting that United Nations officials have decided to give unedited copies to the five permanent members of the Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States. Iraq's documents arrived at the UN headquarters in New York and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna yesterday, and Arabic translators began working on some of the material immediately. There are 12,000 pages in the dossier.
Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, said yesterday that he is uncertain how long it will take for experts to analyze the material for verification of Iraqi claims that it does not have weapons of mass destruction. "We will, of course, immediately take a look at that and get an overview of how many pages are printed and how much do we get in CD-ROMS, and tomorrow we will get copies made of the declaration, and we will start to work," Blix said.
In Baghdad, experts with the IAEA returned to the Al-Tuweitha nuclear facility south of the city today for a third inspection, while a second inspection team went to an undisclosed location north of the capital. Another 25 inspectors arrived yesterday to assist in searching for evidence on whether Iraq has programs for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.