UNMOVIC experts complete inspections at Al-Dora animal vaccine laboratory

UNMOVIC experts have completed inspections at an animal vaccine laboratory in Baghdad's southern district of Al-Dora.

The inspectors remained at the laboratory for about four hours.

As it could be seen through the wire fence, the UNMOVIC experts took water and soil samples at the company, they even collected samples from the trees growing on the laboratory premises. Following the inspections the laboratory management confirmed the information.

The Al-Dora laboratory management said that they fully cooperated with the UN inspectors. Following yesterday's practice, the inspectors themselves made no comments on the results of their work.

The vaccine production laboratory was built in the 1980s by the French "Nero" company and was the only plant of the kind in the entire Middle East. When the war broke out between Iraq and Iran (1980-1988), the Arab media claimed that the laboratory "turned into Iraq's important strategic object." The team of UN inspectors working in Iraq in 1991-1998 visited the laboratory regularly. They monitored the destruction of all the equipment engaged in the production prohibited under the UN Security Council resolution on Iraq. A round-the-clock monitoring was imposed.

The laboratory was repeatedly subject to air bombardment.

The second team of experts, representing the International Atomic Energy Agency, inspected the al-Nasser plant /"Victory"/, located in the village of Taj (20 kilometers north of Baghdad). The al-Nasser plant, which produces conventional weapons ammunition and spare parts for heavy machinery and tractors, is part of the Iraqi industrial sector.

The United States believes that the inspected plants produce biological and chemical weapons.

Baghdad denies having weapons of mass destruction or any programs connected with producing them.

The chief UN inspectors in Iraq said that they "were satisfied with the level of cooperation with the Iraqi authorities during the first working day." The second day of inspections will be summed up at a press-conference which is expected to take place at the UNMOVIC and IAEA headquarters in Baghdad.

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