The IAEA Suggested UN Security Council Prolong the Mandate of UN Inspectors in Iraq

The IAEA intends to address the UN Security Council with a proposal to prolong the mandate of the inspectors in Iraq, said IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei at a news conference in Moscow.

He reminded the audience that on January 27 the inspectors must submit a report about their activity in Iraq to the UN Security Council. After that, the inspectors will ask the Security Council to prolong their mandate for another several months.

According to the director general, for eight weeks now the inspectors have been doing their work in Iraq. They have been using all the procedures, but still eight weeks are way too short a period, said the IAEA Director General.

He expressed confidence that the international inspectors in Iraq were moving in the right direction. At the same time, he pointed out that some countries showed impatience, expecting rapid final results from the inspectors.

According to him, much has already been done, yet much more has remained to do, and it is necessary to complete this work.

Mohamed ElBaradei said that together with UNMOVIC head Hans Blix he intended to visit Iraq on January 19-20.

He confirmed the intention of the inspectors to intensify their work in Iraq in the coming weeks and months.

The IAEA Secretary General said that it was very important that the inspectors had started to receive information from different countries concerning the places and the processes to which they should pay a special attention.

Apart from that, Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed that sufficiently many countries supply the inspectors with intelligence information about the possible places in Iraq where weapons of mass destruction may be found and about the contracts the fulfillment of which may contribute to the creation of weapons of mass destruction.

He underscored, however, that this specific information did not directly testify to the fact that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.

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