Planned interview with Iraqi cancelled as inspections continue, UN says

A planned interview of an Iraqi by United Nations officials did not take place today after the individual insisted on having a witness present during the questioning, a spokesman for the UN said in Baghdad.
According to Hiro Ueki, on Sunday the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) requested one further private interview with an Iraqi individual, who showed up yesterday with an Iraqi official at the Al Hayat Hotel. A private interview did not take place, as he insisted on having a witness with him.

UNMOVIC requested another private interview yesterday, "and it did not take place today either, as the individual concerned insisted on having a witness with him," Mr. Ueki said.

UNMOVIC has so far requested private interviews with 16 Iraqi individuals, but none has taken place so far. "UNMOVIC will further seek private interviews, as allowed in Security Council resolution 1441," Mr. Ueki said.

The Commission currently has 100 inspectors in Iraq, while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has 11. The remaining 140 UN personnel in the country are support staff, including 50 aircrew and 31 local staff.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ueki reported that an UNMOVIC multidisciplinary team returned to the Ukhaider Ammunition and Missile Storage area, where 12 chemical rocket warheads had been discovered on 16 January. The team took a sample from the twelfth warhead for further analysis.

A biological team inspected the Saddam Centre for Biotechnology Research at Baghdad University, which focuses its research effort on DNA and reproductive technologies. A second team inspected the 7 Nissan stores, where a range of agricultural equipment, including sprayers, is kept. A third team inspected the Grain Board of Iraq's main depot at Taji.

About 90 kilometres south of Baghdad, a chemical team visited the Furat State Company, which is designed to principally manufacture rayon and chlorine products.

A team of missile inspectors went to the Al Harith Missile Maintenance Workshop in Taji to re-tag SA-2 surface-to-air missiles, from which tags had been removed the week before for maintenance. The team also removed tags from other SA-2 missiles that will go through a maintenance cycle within the coming week. "The SA-2 missiles are tagged to ensure that they are not converted into ballistic missiles capable of proscribed ranges," Mr. Ueki noted.

As for the IAEA, teams conducted inspections at the Nassr industrial machining and foundry facility, performed a motorized radiation survey in Baghdad and inspected the College of Science, the College of Education and the College of Engineering at the University of Babylon.