On Saturday, Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) Hans Blix and head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El-Baradei will arrive in Baghdad for negotiations with Iraqi officials.
That will be their second visit to Baghdad in less than a month. During the previous visit the sides discussed the course of the inspection and agreed to intensify Iraq's cooperation with the experts of the United Nations. However, a week later, speaking in the UN Security Council, Hans Blix and Mohamed El-Baradei called this cooperation not sufficient enough.
The reaction of Baghdad was oversensitive. Iraq's cooperation with the UN inspectors does not boil down only to the policy of open doors, said, in particular, General Amar Al-Saadi, the adviser of the Saddam Hussein administration in charge of contacts with UNMOVIC and the IAEA. "We answer questions, present documents, allow to make all kinds of examinations, to take samples, to visit any facilities and to do their work," he said. "This is an active cooperation on our part." In his turn, another adviser of Saddam Hussein, former Oil Minister Amer Rashid, underscored that Baghdad was ready for any cooperation within the framework of Resolution 1441 of the UN Security Council. However, he added, Iraq should not be treated as the accused who must prove his guiltlessness. According to him, it is cooperation that must be the point of discussion.
But especially painfully Baghdad reacted to the report of Hans Blix in which he said that Iraq could still have weapons of mass destruction and that it could work on developing and modernising missiles in violation of the earlier adopted decisions by the United Nations. The Iraqi officials called this document "non-balanced" and the facts cited in it "disproportionate." Hans Blix and Mohamed El-Baradei will visit Baghdad on the eve of the session of the UN Security Council scheduled for February 14. The report which the UNMOVIC head will deliver at that session will depend in many respects on the results of this visit.