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Media Advisory 2002/2011 (20 November 2002)

News Update on Iraq Inspections
IAEA, UN Chiefs Conclude Talks, 20 November 2002

The following is based on reports from the IAEA and UN advance teams in Iraq, and a press briefing 20 November in Cyprus by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and UNMOVIC Executive Director Hans Blix.

Also see the summary of talks (pdf). For full coverage, see the pages on IAEA and Iraq.

20 November 2002 -- IAEA and United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq have concluded talks in Iraq focused on the resumption of international arms inspections in the country. The first inspections are scheduled to start 27 November, with teams moving in before then.

Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei over two days of talks with Iraq officials discussed the upcoming inspections, including practical arrangements and the requirement for Iraq to submit by 8 December a "currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems".

At a press briefing in Cyprus 20 November, Dr. ElBaradei and Dr. Blix described the Iraqi talks as "constructive", "professional", and "businesslike". They said Iraq had agreed to submit the required declaration of its weapons programmes by the specified date, and that the first operational inspections would begin in a week's time. Dr. ElBaradei said that the work that begins 27 November will be "the real test" of Iraq's pledge to cooperate with inspectors, reaffirming that inspections offer a new opportunity. "We hope their words and commitments will translate on the ground into real, full cooperation," he said.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on 18 November, urged Iraq to fully comply with Security Council demands for IAEA and UN inspections in Iraq "for the sake of his people, regional stability and world order." Speaking in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was on an official visit, the Secretary-General said the arrival in Baghdad of Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei signalled a "crucial new phase of disarmament."

The Secretary-General noted that the Council's resolution 1441 states clearly what the Government of Iraq must do. "Acting in unison, Council members demanded that Iraq grant prompt and unfettered access to all and any sites," he said.

The latest available information on IAEA Iraq missions will be posted on the IAEA WorldAtom web site at www.iaea.org.