IAEA and UNMOVIC advised by the US Government to pull out inspectors from Baghdad

Extract from Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors
by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei

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Inspections in Iraq

With regard to Iraq, I am able to report that, since the resumption of nuclear weapons inspections pursuant to the relevant Security Council resolutions a little over three months ago, the Agency has made progress in identifying what nuclear related capabilities remain in Iraq, and in its assessment of whether Iraq has made any efforts to revive its past nuclear programme during the intervening four years since inspections were brought to a halt. To date we have found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq.

I should note that, in recent weeks, possibly as a result of increasing pressure by the international community, Iraq has been more forthcoming in its co-operation with the IAEA. I should also note that over the weekend, both Dr. Blix and I received an invitation from the Iraqi authorities to visit Iraq with a view to accelerating the implementation of our respective mandates.

Late last night, however, I was advised by the United States Government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad. Similar advice has been given to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). I immediately informed the President of the Security Council and asked for guidance. I also informed the United Nations Secretary-General. I understand that the Security Council will take up the issue today. Naturally, the safety of our staff remains our primary consideration at this difficult time. I earnestly hope - even at this late hour - that a peaceful resolution of the issue can be achieved, and that the world can be spared a war.

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