Second day of inspections: U.N. satisfied with Iraq cooperation
UN arms experts conducted a second day of inspections in Iraq on Thursday in their hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction.
A convoy of four cars carrying the inspectors accompanied by an ambulance left the UN headquarters on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad for an undisclosed location.
The inspectors visited three sites on Wednesday and said Baghdad authorities had cooperated fully on the first day of inspections since 1998.
The UN experts have expressed satisfaction with Iraq's cooperation, saying cooperation had to be measured over the long term.
"The team was able to complete the inspection work as it planned with the cooperation of the Iraqi side, and we had access to what we wanted to see," said Jacques Baute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who led one team to a northeastern suburb of Baghdad.
"It's a good start," said Baute, while adding that the "degree of cooperation needs to be judged over the long term" with more than 700 suspect sites still to be checked.
According to AFP, a second squad of UN inspectors went unannounced to a graphite factory at Al-Amiriya, 70 kilometers west of Baghdad.
"We managed to do all the things that we planned to do," said Dimitri Perricos, who led the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Mission (UNMOVIC) team. "We got the activities and the data we wanted to get in order to be able to assess further the capabilities of the sites."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in Paris, said the first disarmament mission appeared to be off to "a fairly good start". But he told French radio "this must be sustained cooperation to avoid a military conflict". (Albawaba.com)
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