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The World | SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

'Good Progress in Our Knowledge'

January 28, 2003|From Associated Press

Following are excerpts from International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei's statement to the Security Council on Iraq:

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Inspections, Interviews

Over these first two months of inspection, we have made good progress in our knowledge of Iraq's nuclear capabilities, with a total of 139 inspections at some 106 locations....

The inspectors have also conducted a great number of interviews of Iraqi scientists, managers and technicians primarily in the workplace in the course of unannounced inspections as as a valuable source of information ....

The first two individuals whom the IAEA requested to see privately declined to be interviewed without the presence of an Iraqi government representative. This has been a restricting factor....

Iraq's Declaration

The Iraqi declaration [of Dec. 7] was consistent with our existing understanding of Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear program. However, it did not provide any new information relevant to certain questions that have been outstanding since 1998.

Findings to Date

No prohibited nuclear activities have been identified during these inspections.

A particular issue of focus has been the attempted procurement by Iraq of high-strength aluminum tubes, and the question of whether these tubes, if acquired, could be used for the manufacture of nuclear centrifuges. Iraqi authorities have indicated that their unsuccessful attempts to procure the aluminum tubes related to a program to reverse-engineer conventional rockets....

From our analysis to date it appears that the aluminum tubes would be consistent with the purpose stated by Iraq and, unless modified, would not be suitable for manufacturing centrifuges; however, we are still investigating this issue. It is clear, however, that the attempt to acquire such tubes is prohibited under Security Council Resolution 687....

A fourth focal point has been the investigation of reports of Iraqi efforts to import uranium after 1991. The Iraqi authorities have denied any such attempts. The IAEA will continue to pursue this issue.

Baghdad's Cooperation

Iraqi authorities have provided access to all facilities visited, including presidential compounds and private residences, without conditions and without delay....

In our discussions with Iraqi officials last week in Baghdad, we emphasized the need to shift from passive support ... to proactive support, that is, voluntarily assisting inspectors....

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To read ElBaradei's full report, got to latimes.com/unreport.

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