Blix meets with Commissioners ahead of his briefing to Security Council next week

Hans Blix

23 January 2003 – The College of Commissioners of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) met today at UN Headquarters in New York with Executive Chairman Hans Blix to review the work of the inspectors on the ground in Iraq.

Emerging from the meeting room, Mr. Blix told reporters that they also discussed how he will formulate his scheduled update to the Security Council on Monday. He added, in response to a question, that some things in Iraq were going well, including prompt access to many sites, while some others were not, such as efforts to obtain permission for U2 surveillance flights.

“It’s a mixed bag,” he said of Iraqi cooperation. “If Iraq showed the cooperation in all respects asked of them, then it could be a fast process.”

Mr. Blix also noted that the Security Council would determine the timetable for inspections. “Whatever they say – if they want to change the resolutions, that is the instruction we have,” he stressed. “We are a subsidiary organ of the Security Council.”

Meanwhile in Iraq, an UNMOVIC team of missile inspectors flew by helicopter to the al-Kindi research facility in the northern “no-fly” zone. “This was the first such flight since an agreement was reached on procedures” earlier this week, said Hiro Ueki, spokesman for UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Baghdad. He noted that it was also the first time that a joint inspection was conducted by teams arriving from separate UN bases using different modes of transportation.

Other activities included an inspection of the Taji Resin Establishment by a second UNMOVIC missile team, continued rebaselining of the Al Qa Qaa complex using a metal analyse and a visit to the Department of Biology of the College of Science at Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad as a biological team inspected the Medical College of the same University to verify the Iraqi declaration.

In Mosul, a multidisciplinary team visited the Kirkuk Airfield and inspected the munitions bunkers, storage areas, administrative buildings, aircraft hangers and utilities, Mr. Ueki said, while another multidisciplinary team, based in Baghdad, was in the vicinity of Basra, where it inspected the UR State Establishment for Engineering Industry to update the activities of the factory.

At the Ashakyli Stores of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, an IAEA team performed radiation surveys using portable instruments, according to the spokesman. Equipment under IAEA seals was checked, as was the status of other equipment in storage. A second IAEA team performed inspections in the Basra area.

Mr. Ueki also clarified reports about a visit by four UN inspectors to the Al-Nidaa Mosque in Baghdad, saying that they visited the mosque on a private tour last Sunday, and asked questions as tourists. There was not an inspection at the mosque, he stressed.

Video of Dr. Blix's comments

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