Russian and US Experts Differ on Iraq Reports by Unmovic Executive Chairman and IAEA Head

Russian and US experts have different views on reports on the preliminary results of the inspections in Iraq by the UNMOVIC Head and the Head of the IAEA. John Negroponte, the US permanent representative in the UN, assessed on Thursday Iraq's fulfillment of the resolution as a major violation of its provisions, and if Baghdad refuses to further cooperate with the international community, the Iraqi authorities will be responsible for future developments. But his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov urges against arousing political panic around inspections and let inspectors do their work.

Proceeding from the analysis of the Iraqi declaration /on military programmes/ and the first weeks of the inspections, we see no evidence of Iraq's dramatically changing its approach, i.e. abandoning the practice of fraud in order to meet the Security Council's demands to disarm, the US representative said. He went on to say that Iraq should provide evidence of its disarmament rather than UN inspectors. The US thinks that the analysis of the parts of the Iraqi declaration in Arabian showed that the declaration had not given any answers and did not provide new information. Iraq's behaviour within the past six weeks has nothing to do with active cooperation, the US representative concluded. Resolution 1441 envisages serious consequences for Iraq. If the latter fails to fulfil it and does not disarm peacefully, Iraq will be held fully responsible for future developments.

The Russian permanent representative gave a positive assessment of the inspections. "The inspectors gave answers to a number of questions, some questions became irrelevant and now the UNMOVIC and IAEA heads will leave for Baghdad to continue the work," Sergei Lavrov said. "I believe that inspections are being carried out by professionals that give their assessment during their work, and I think that no political panic should be created around their reports," the Russian diplomat said.

"We support and trust international inspectors, and it rests with them to decide how to use the authority granted to them by Resolution 1441, " Lavrov emphasised.

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