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IAEA Media Advisory 2003/0701 (7 January 2003)

News Update on Iraq Inspections

2003 |UNMOVIC IAEA Press Statement on Inspection Activities in Iraq, 7 January 2003

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

7 January 2003 -- The first air-borne inspection took place today. An UNMOVIC chemical team left the Al Rasheed Air Base in Baghdad on three Bell-212 helicopters at 7:00 a.m. and flew roughly two hours, 300 km northwest, to inspect the Al Qaim State Company for Phosphate. This company is primarily a fertilizer plant. Two Iraqi helicopters accompanied those of the UN. The team spent about six hours at the site and then returned to the Al Rasheed Air Base at about 5:15 p.m. It was a successful use of helicopters in support of an inspection activity. The team comprised 15 members (13 inspectors, one interpreter and one medic).

UNMOVIC missile inspectors were divided into three teams today. The first missile team traveled 90 km south to inspect two places, which belong to the Al Mamoun Plant of the Al Rasheed Company, where some critical equipment had been installed by the plant and were tagged by the missile team. On the way to these places, the team stopped by the Al Mutaseem Plant, which also belongs to the Al Rasheed Company, to check the static test stand where a missile test is planned soon.

The second missile team went to the Al Samoud Factory, located roughly 40 km west of Baghdad, where they checked two missile engines that will be static-tested by Iraq in the next days. The third team went to the area of Fallujah, where they continued tagging Al Fatah gound-to-ground solid propellant rockets.

An UNMOVIC biological team inspected the Saddam Centre for Cancer and Medical Genetics in Baghdad. The Centre performs research on cancer, among others.

An UNMOVIC multidisciplinary team inspected the Ukhaider Ammunition and Missile Storage Area, approximately 120 km south of Baghdad.

A Mosul-based multidisciplinary team inspected the College of Education and the Chemistry Department of the College of Sciences at the University of Mosul. The team visited the library, related laboratories and storage buildings.

The IAEA conducted two inspections: one at the Bakir Air Base, 100 km north of Baghdad and the other at the Kubaisa Cement Factory 250 km west of Baghdad. Both inspections were performed to verify information associated with another site.

We now have roughly 200 international staff in Baghdad and Mosul. The total number of inspectors is 105 (97 from UNMOVIC and 8 from the IAEA). The rest are support staff, including aircrew.

Douglas Fraser has been appointed as Chief of the Mosul Regional Office. In this capacity, he will be coordinating support activities for the Mosul-based inspection operations. He arrived in Baghdad last Saturday and traveled to Mosul today. He will operate out of the Nineveh (Ninawa) Palace Hotel, which is serving as a temporary base of operations until a regional office is established. Currently, we have a multidisciplinary team of 16 inspectors based in Mosul. They began inspection activity last Sunday, 5 January.

Hiro Ueki
Spokesman for UNMOVIC and the IAEA in Baghdad