Iraq: The evidence compiled by the UN inspectors

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The Independent Online
The following is a summary of progress made by the UN special commission (UNSCOM) - collated from reports by UNSCOM and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - which has been working for the past six years to find and neutralise Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Missiles

Significant progress has been achieved in the missile area. The commission is now in a position to be able to account for practically all, except two, imported combat missiles that were once the core of Iraq's proscribed missile force. The commission has also accounted for all declared operational missile launchers, both imported and indigenously produced. To achieve the ultimate objective of full disposal of Iraq's operational missile assets, the next important step is to account for proscribed missile warheads.

Once this is accomplished, the commission's ability to report to the Security Council with confidence that Iraq does not possess a proscribed missile force would greatly increase.

Chemical Weapons

Important progress has been made in this area, of which the recently completed destruction of chemical weapons-related equipment and materials is an example. However, the ability of the commission to report positively on disarmament of this category of weapons of mass destruction will require the provision by Iraq of much more and accurate material and related access by the commission relevant to the warheads and the highly toxic VX nerve agent.

Biological Weapons

This is an area unredeeemed by progress or any approximation of the known facts of Iraq's programme. The Executive Chairman (eds: Richard Butler) and UNSCOM experts have made clear repeatedly to their Iraqi counterparts their deep concern about this area, both intrinsically and in terms of its impact upon the overall estimation of Iraq's willingness to abide by the decisions of the Security Council.

Nuclear

The IAEA's activities regarding the investigation of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme have reached a point of diminishing returns and the IAEA is focusing most of its resources on the implementation and technical strengthening of its plan for the monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance with its obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions.

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