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Media Advisory 2002/2211 (22 November 2002)

News Update on Iraq Inspections

2002 |Summary of the Press Briefing by the Spokesman for UNMOVIC and the IAEA in Baghdad

For full coverage, see the pages on IAEA and Iraq.

22 November 2002 -- The Spokesman for UNMOVIC and the IAEA in Baghdad, Hiro Ueki, gave an impromptu press briefing at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which will house the Baghdad Ongoing Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Centre (BOMVIC) of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Mr. Ueki announced that the first group of weapons inspectors would arrive on 25 November, with 12 coming from UNMOVIC and 6 from the IAEA. UNMOVIC has approximately 300 inspectors on its roster, while the IAEA has a total of 33 inspectors. Their breakdown by nationality (not names) would be provided, once it is ready.

Mr. Ueki said that UNMOVIC would have 80 to 100 weapons inspectors by Christmas/the end of the year, and that the IAEA would have approximately 20 inspectors stationed in Iraq at any given time, once they began full operation.

As of today, 22 November, UNMOVIC and the IAEA have 33 support staff. 5 more support staff are expected to arrive on 23 November with more equipment and supplies necessary for the resumption of weapons inspections on 27 November. The support staff include administrative personnel, information technology and communications experts, medics, logistics and security personnel.

In response to questions, Mr. Ueki said that it was likely that weapons inspectors would first visit previously monitored sites to check the conditions of the equipment and to re-baseline these sites. He did not rule out a possibility, however, that any other sites would be inspected at any stage, once inspections resumed.

Asked about the Iraqi declaration due no later than 8 December, Mr. Ueki said that it was up to the Iraqi government to decide what to include and what not to include in its declaration, keeping in mind what had been requested of them by the Security Council. The Council also indicated in its resolution 1441 that Iraq should submit the declaration to UNMOVIC, the IAEA and the Security Council, which would then analyze it and decide on the next steps. As far as UNMOVIC and the IAEA were concerned, they would continue with their inspections even after the submission of the Iraqi declaration, as it might take some time for them to complete their analysis.