Press Statement Agreed Between Hans Blix (UNMOVIC), Mohamed ElBaradei (IAEA) and Amir Al Sadi (Iraq)
Representatives of Iraq, UNMOVIC and the IAEA have had talks over the last two days on practical arrangements needed for or facilitating resumed inspections. They were held in a business-like and focussed manner.
The Iraqi representatives declared that Iraq accepts all the rights of inspection provided for in all the relevant Security Council resolutions.
The Iraqi delegation handed over four CD ROMs containing the backlog of semi-annual monitoring declarations for the sites and items covered by the on-going monitoring and verification plans for the period June 1998 to July 2002.
"Technical" matters are often crucial to the effectiveness of inspections and, thereby, their credibility. It is therefore better to have thorough discussions about them in Vienna than in the field.
It has been found that many practical arrangements followed between 1991 - 1998 remain viable and useful and could be applied.
On the question of access, it was clarified that all sites are subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access. However, the Memorandum of Understanding of 1998 establishes special procedures for access to eight presidential sites.
Some past practical arrangements would be modified. For improved efficiency, aeroplanes used by inspection staff arriving in Baghdad will land at Saddam International Airport, rather than at Habbaniya, which is some 80 kilometres from Baghdad.
On the question of the use of fixed-wing planes, as well as helicopters, for inspection, the Iraqi delegation declared that Iraq would take all steps within its control to ensure the safety of inspection air operations; however, Iraq could not provide full guarantees about safety in the no-fly zones.
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