Security Council plans talks on Iraq for Monday to discuss joint text by France, Germany, Russia

16 March 2003 – The United Nations Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting on Monday to discuss a text being put forward on Iraq.

A UN spokesman in New York reported that the 15-member body will meet tomorrow afternoon "in connection with the Joint declaration by France, Germany and Russian Federation on Iraq."

Meanwhile on the ground, experts from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) supervised the destruction of two more Al Samoud 2 missiles, the computer software in a control vehicle to programme the missile, and missile parts, such as fuel tanks and warhead shells. Since the beginning of this month, a total of 70 Al Samoud 2 missiles have been destroyed.

In other activity, an UNMOVIC biological team returned to the Al Aziziyah Airfield and Firing Range and continued to observe the excavation of R-400 bombs that, Iraq states, had been filled with biological agents. The team then returned to the Al Rashidiyah military stores to complete an inspection begun yesterday.

Another biological team inspected the Technical Institute of Kerbala, a two-year technical training school. That team also probed the Kerbala Health Centre Respiratory and Chest Diseases Consultation Clinic, which is responsible for diagnosing chest diseases for the entire Kerbala Governorate.

An UNMOVIC multidisciplinary team inspected the Al Habbaniyah and Al Fallujah Missile Facility. "This is a missile storage area of the Iraqi Army Air Defense," explained UN spokesman Hiro Ueki. "Different types of missiles are stored and repaired at this site."

Mr. Ueki also reported that the Baghdad Government yesterday gave UNMOVIC "photographs and videos showing the mobile laboratories that are in use in Iraq."

The Government also transmitted to UNMOVIC "a letter dated 14 March containing a document on the destruction of precursors for mustard gas, and a letter dated 15 March containing a report on the estimation of VX degradation products in the soil at the dumpsite, he added.

In a separate development, five Bell-212 helicopters left Baghdad and flew to Damascus, Syria, today on their way to Larnaca, Cyprus, because the helicopter company's insurance decided to withdraw coverage from the aircraft if they remained in Iraq. Three MI8-MTV helicopters, which belong to a Russian company, remain in Baghdad.

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