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Iraq: Inspectors Say No WMD Found, Call For Full Cooperation

United Nations, 14 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix (pictured, right), today told the UN Security Council that arms inspectors have not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 11 weeks of inspections. But Blix also said Iraq is still not providing full cooperation with UN weapons monitors. He said "many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for."

Blix told the Security Council that the most important problem faced by inspectors is a lack of evidence by Iraq to answer questions about missing stocks of anthrax and VX nerve agents.

He also said a panel of experts he called together this week has unanimously concluded that Iraq has a missile system that exceeds the permitted range of 150 kilometers. He added that the system has now been banned.

But Blix said his most recent meetings with Iraqi officials this month indicated a "more open attitude" on key matters of substance that need to be acted on.

He declined to give a time frame for further inspections, but said the period of Iraqi disarmament could be short if Baghdad provides the immediate and unconditional cooperation with inspectors required by UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohammad el-Baradei told the UN Security Council there is still no evidence of prohibited nuclear activity in Iraq but a number of issues are still under investigation. El-Baradei called for full cooperation by Iraq to help speed up the inspection process for nuclear weapons.

El-Baradei said his experts are investigating new information related to alleged Iraqi attempts to import uranium for a nuclear-weapons program. He said his experts have asked Iraq to explain the import of aluminum tubes that U.S. officials say could be used to make centrifuges to enrich uranium.

He also said Iraq has recently provided new documentation related to U.S. charges that it has been seeking to import magnets that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons.