The new agency overseeing the destruction of Iraqi weapons on Tuesday opened its first meeting with a keyboard of commissioners from 17 nations on how it would go about accounting for Baghdad's banned arms programs, Reuters said.
The two-day session was reviewing a fresh report to the Security Council drafted by Hans Blix of Sweden, the agency's director who was coaxed out of retirement after heading the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 16 years, added the agency.
Blix is attempting to set up the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), which replaced the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) as the agency in charge of scrapping Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
His report to the Security Council on how he would organize the new agency's work was discussed behind closed doors on Tuesday with the 17 commissioners, said Reuters.
The College of Commissioners, a mixture of outside experts and government officials, is designed to meet at least four times a year to provide professional advice and guidance.
RUSSIA CONTACTS IRAQ ON UN RESOLUTION 1284
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov contacted Iraq about the ongoing discussions at the United Nations on resolution 1284, offering a suspension of sanctions in exchange for fresh arms inspections, AFP reported Wednesday.
Ivanov's message focused on the "talks which are currently taking place in the United Nations on resolution 1284" as well as "cooperation between Iraq and Russia."
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz backed Tuesday Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan's comments on the resolution.
"Iraq's position is closed when it comes to resolution 1284, which is not a solution and does not lead to a lifting or even a suspension of the sanctions" imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Aziz stressed, added AFP.
"Iraq appreciates Russia's position and its support for Baghdad's legitimate request to lift the embargo," he said.
Ramadan said that Iraq ruled out any dialogue with the Security Council, warning "this resolution will put Iraq in an even worse situation than at present".
Resolution 1284, adopted in December, offers a renewable suspension of the decade-old embargo in return for Baghdad's full cooperation with a new disarmament panel - (Several Sources)
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