UN-Iraq Talks "Constructive", Secretary-General Says
Wrapping up two days of meetings in Vienna with officials from Iraq aimed at ending the stalemate over the return of United Nations weapons inspectors, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said some progress had been achieved - although he would have preferred more, the UN reported.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the talks, the Secretary-General said the two-day meeting included "a constructive discussion at the technical level," which focused on the remaining disarmament issues and the practical arrangements that would apply should UN inspections resume. The Iraqi delegation, he said, would now report back to its authorities, while contacts would continue on technical matters.
"There has been some movement," he said, but added, "I would have preferred to move further."
The latest round of talks concluded 5 July 2002 at the United Nations offices in Vienna. Also participating were IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Hans Blix, the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). The talks sought to foster Iraqs compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions, including the return of UN weapons inspectors to the country.
A press briefing on the role and work of the IAEA Iraq Action Team took place, 4 July 2002.
Under Security Council resolutions, the IAEA, through its Iraq Action Team, has the responsibility for conducting nuclear inspections in Iraq; these inspections ceased in December 1998.