YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Excerpts From the U.N. Reports

HANS BLIX: Chief U.N. arms inspector

February 15, 2003

Mr. President,

Since I reported to the Security Council on Jan. 27, UNMOVIC has had two further weeks of operational and analytical work in New York and active inspections in Iraq.... We have continued to build up our capabilities. The regional office in Mosul is now fully operational at its temporary headquarters. Plans for a regional office at Basra are being developed. Our Hercules L-100 aircraft continues to operate routine flights between Baghdad and Larnaca [Cyprus]. The eight helicopters are fully operational.... The number of Iraqi minders during inspections had often reached a ratio as high as 5 per inspector. During the talks in January in Baghdad, the Iraqi side agreed to keep the ratio to about 1 to 1. The situation has improved.

Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.

Through the inspections conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq, as well as of its missile capability, but, as before, we do not know every cave and corner. Inspections are effectively helping to bridge the gap in knowledge that arose due to the absence of inspections between December 1998 and November 2002.

More than 200 chemical and more than 100 biological samples have been collected at different sites. Three-quarters of these have been screened using our own laboratory analytical capabilities at the Baghdad center. The results to date have been consistent with Iraq's declarations.

We have now commenced the process of destroying approximately 50 liters of mustard gas declared by Iraq that was being kept under UNMOVIC seal at the Muthanna site. One-third of the quantity has already been destroyed....

Mr. President, in my Jan. 27 update to the council, I said that it seemed from our experience that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, most importantly prompt access to all sites and assistance to UNMOVIC in the establishment of the necessary infrastructure. This impression remains, and we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to presidential sites and private residences.

In my last updating, I also said that a decision to cooperate on substance was indispensable in order to bring, through inspection, the disarmament task to completion and to set the monitoring system on a firm course. Such cooperation, as I have noted, requires more than the opening of doors.... In the current situation, one would expect Iraq to be eager to comply....

How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programs? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter, and one of great significance, is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for....

Mr. President, in my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 and should be well known to Iraq. I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles, and said that such issues "deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside." The declaration submitted by Iraq on Dec. 7, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing....

In my January update to the council, I referred to the Al-Samoud 2 and the Al-Fatah missiles.... Earlier this week, UNMOVIC missile experts met for two days with experts from a number of member states to discuss these items. The experts concluded unanimously that, based on the data provided by Iraq, the two declared variants of the Al-Samoud 2 missile were capable of exceeding 150 kilometers [93 miles] in range. This missile system is therefore proscribed for Iraq pursuant to Resolution 687 and the monitoring plan adopted by Resolution 715....

At the meeting in Baghdad on Feb. 8 and 9, the Iraqi side addressed some of the important outstanding disarmament issues and gave us a number of papers, for example regarding anthrax and growth material, the nerve agent VX and missile production.... Although no new evidence was provided in the papers and no open issues were closed through them or the expert discussions, the presentation of the papers could be indicative of a more active attitude focusing on important open issues....

A letter of Feb. 12 from Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate

Los Angeles Times Articles