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Iraqi Arms Declaration Heads to Analysts in New York, Vienna - 2002-12-08


Copies of Iraq's weapons declaration are being flown to U.N. offices in New York and Vienna for analysis by international experts.

Weapons experts at the United Nations in New York and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna will soon begin examining approximately 12,000 pages of documents.

Iraq handed over its weapons declaration to U.N. inspectors in Baghdad Saturday, one day before a U.N. deadline. On Sunday, a C-130 transport plane carried the documents to Larnaca in Cyprus. The dossier should be in the hands of U.N. and IAEA nuclear weapons experts by Monday morning.

The unanimous U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 required Iraq to make a full declaration of its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. The document is subject to verification by U.N. arms inspectors in Iraq.

Iraqi officials said the declaration will show there are some activities and technologies that have both peaceful and military applications, but they insist that Iraq possesses no weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. and British officials claim there is evidence Iraq has retained and even accelerated some banned weapons programs.

U.N. weapons inspectors began hunting for banned weapons in Iraq last month. Sunday, they searched a geological survey facility in Baghdad and a pesticides factory northwest of the capital that had been linked in the past with Iraq's chemical weapons program. At the geological mining site, they inspected a closed facility that had been used for uranium processing.

About two dozen additional weapons experts are joining the current team, and the inspectors received more equipment Saturday, including the first of several helicopters that will allow unannounced inspections to take place virtually anywhere in Iraq.