Iraq

Security Council meets behind closed doors to discuss situation in Iraq

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The Security Council, which had been briefed on Monday by the chief United Nations weapons inspectors, met behind closed doors today to continue their discussions on the situation in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters before heading into the Council's chambers this morning, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said UN inspectors were making steady progress in the nuclear area, and that a few more months were needed before a conclusion could be drawn on Iraq's nuclear weapons programme.

"I still believe that we have not exhausted the possibility for a peaceful resolution of the issue, and I would continue to plead for more time," he said.

"We are trying to give the Security Council a full, comprehensive, objective picture to make their own political assessment," he told reporters. "Let me emphasize, this is a nuclear issue. There is a big difference between the nuclear and chemical and biological [inspections] in terms of the file, in terms of the techniques, in term of the progress."

Mr. ElBaradei noted that the chemical and biological file needed to be making equal progress with the nuclear inspections or the Iraqi issue "will not move forward," and stressed again that Baghdad needed to show proactive support in the next few weeks. "We all know that time is running out and that the international community is getting impatient with the file, which has continued to be open for 11 years," he said.