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UN Inspectors Visit Iraqi Missile Facilities, Basra University - 2003-01-22


United Nations weapons experts spent their 54th day of inspections in Iraq, searching suspected chemical, biological and missile weapons sites, while the two top weapons experts prepare to deliver what could be a critical progress report to the Security Council.

A nuclear team Wednesday went to the University of Basra near Iraq's border with Kuwait. A team of biological experts investigated the Technology Institute in Baghdad. A chemical team traveled south of Baghdad to check out a missile facility, while missile experts visited the al-Badr missile complex, also south of the capital.

The inspectors are working under a newly signed agreement that calls for greater cooperation from Iraqi officials in the hunt for weapons of mass destruction. However, that agreement does not address the issue of allowing inspectors to take Iraqi scientists out of the country to be interviewed and it does not completely satisfy the inspectors' desire to fly U-2 spy planes over suspected weapons sites.

Next Monday the U.N. Security Council will receive a progress report on the weapons inspections.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, has said he will tell the Council that inspectors need several more months to conclude their investigation, while chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is expected to detail the issues that remain unresolved with Baghdad.

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