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Blix Urges UNMOVIC Role To Help Resolve Iraqi WMD Questions

United Nations, 5 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix (pictured, right) has urged the UN Security Council to make use of his monitors to help answer lingering questions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Blix, who retires at the end of the month, told the council today that his inspectors found no evidence of banned weapons programs in Iraq before they withdrew ahead of the U.S.-led war in March.

But Blix also cited the long list of items, such as biological and chemical weapons, that remain unaccounted for. He said it was difficult to resolve these issues under the former Iraqi regime.

"I trust that in the new environment in Iraq, in which there is full access and cooperation and in which knowledgeable witnesses should no longer be inhibited to reveal what they know, it should be possible to establish the truth we all want to know."

The council said in its recent resolution on postwar Iraq that it would reassess the mandate of the UN inspectors in Iraq, now that U.S.-led experts have been deployed in Iraq. A number of council members, including chief U.S. ally Britain, support the return of UN inspectors to verify Iraq's disarmament of weapons of mass destruction.