Iraq Inspection Agency Holds First Commissioners' Meeting
The United Nations ended two days of talks Wednesday on creating a new arms inspection agency for Iraq, despite little indication that Baghdad will accept new weapons searches any time soon, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Much speculation has focused on the staffing of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission since its predecessor, the UN Special Commission, was tarnished by allegations its inspectors spied on behalf of the United States, the agency added.
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has made clear he doesn't want his new agency to be so politicized, but appointments to key posts have nevertheless boiled down to representing the five permanent members of the Security Council or their allies, AP said.
Blix on Wednesday briefed his advisory board on staffing choices for the new agency - known as UNMOVIC - and also presented his first progress report on its work.
Diplomats were quoted as saying Wednesday that the United States has been offered a senior position in the new agency that would oversee technical support and training.
Russia is to handle external relations, Britain is to be in charge of the information division, China is expected to be offered chief of evaluation while France is believed to be handed the task of overseeing intelligence, AP added.
Weapons inspectors left Iraq in December 1998 ahead of US and British air strikes, launched to punish Iraq for failing to cooperate with arms searches. The Security Council created UNMOVIC last December to replace the UN Special Commission.
But Iraq has said inspectors may not return and has rejected the resolution creating UNMOVIC as recently as Tuesday – Albawaba.com
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