Accessibility links

Breaking News

Inspectors Need More Time, say Blix and ElBaradei - 2003-01-21

The two top U.N. officials in charge of weapons inspections in Iraq say their inspectors need more time and that Baghdad must answer more questions.

Iraq still has not answered a great many questions and several more months are needed for U.N. weapons inspectors to complete their search for arms of mass destruction. That was the assessment Tuesday of Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, and Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Both men were speaking in Athens after concluding two days of meetings in the Iraqi capital.

Mr. Blix told Reuters Television in Athens that Iraq still had not accepted the use of U-2 spy planes. Iraq wants its aircraft to accompany the U-2s during their flights. Mr. Blix called the U-2 flights an important tool in the inspection process.

Mr. ElBaradei, who is due to report to the U.N. Security Council January 27, on Iraqi compliance with the search for weapons of mass destruction, said he plans to tell the Security Council that the inspectors need "ite a few more months"to complete the search for banned weapons.

Meanwhile, in Iraq Tuesday, weapons inspectors traveled to several suspected weapons sites, including an agriculture research center, a missile plant, and a chemical facility that belongs to the Iraqi military industrialization commission, as well as the former site of Iraq's main nuclear program.

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan complained Tuesday that despite Iraqi cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors there continues to be a build-up of U.S. and British troops.