- Title: USA: LATEST ON IRAQI LETTER AGREEING TO DESTROY AL-SAMOUD 2 MISSILES, LATEST.
- Date: 1st March 2003
- Summary: (W8) UNITED NATIONS (FEBRUARY 28, 2003) (AGENCY POOL) (SEE 2679/03) HANS BLIX, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, UNMOVIC, ENTERING U.N. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BLIX SAYING: "We confirm that we received a letter yesterday from Dr. al-Saadi, which informed us that Iraq had in principle accepted our request for the destruction of the missiles to commence on the first of March. That is to say tomorrow. My deputy executive chairman, Mr. Perricos is in Baghdad at the present time and he will discuss with them the programme for destruction."
- Embargoed: 16th March 2003 12:00
- Location: UNITED NATIONS / NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA3HR9D068R5J7C42JIYC8NNK5
- Story Text: Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is welcoming a letter sent to him by Iraq agreeing "in principle" to destroy its al-Samoud 2 missiles, saying it constitutes "active co-operation." But Blix' written report, just delivered to Security Council, states that "the results of disarmament so far have been very limited."
According to an unofficial translation by the Iraqi Mission to the U.N, the letter sent to chief weapons inspector Hans Blix states that Baghdad accepts "in principle your request, despite our belief that the decision to destroy was unjustified."
Blix ordered the Iraqi regime to begin destroying all its al-Samoud 2 missiles and related components by March 1.
U.N experts ruled that the missile exceeds limits set by the U.N after the end of the Gulf War.
Blix told reporters "We confirm that we received a letter yesterday from Dr. al-Saadi, which informed us that Iraq had in principle accepted our request for the destruction of the missiles to commence on the first of March. That is to say tomorrow. My deputy executive chairman, Mr. Perricos is in Baghdad at the present time and he will discuss with them the programme for destruction."
Blix added that if the destruction of the missiles goes ahead, it would be "a significant piece of real disarmament".
However, in his written report on Iraqi co-operation just handed to the Security Council, Blix stated that disarmament is still a long way off. In a copy of the report obtained by Reuters, Blix wrote, "during the period of time covered by the present report Iraq could have made greater efforts to find any remaining proscribed items of provide credible evidence showing the absence of such items. The results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far."
Iraq's Ambassador to the U.N, Mohammed Aldouri responded the this criticism by saying, "You know, 'limited' or not, we are doing our utmost. This is what we have. We cannot give Mr. Blix more than what we have. You cannot give somebody something which you are not in position of that things. So what we are doing is to cooperate fully, pro-active cooperation, and we are still continue this cooperation for the future. This is a question of principle. I told you that we would avert war but by all means."
Aldouri was meeting with an interfaith group of religious leaders at the Iraqi Mission to the U.N. The Christian and Muslim clerics were visiting Aldouri to press for peace.
Hans Blix is due to brief the Securtiy Council in person late next week, most likely on March 7. He will explain his report and answer questions from the polarised 15-member Council.
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