Iraq: What the UN and Baghdad agreed

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The Independent Online
Key points in the agreement reached between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz:

The government of Iraq has made a written commitment to provide "immediate, unrestricted and unconditional" access for UN inspectors to all sites suspected of making weapons in Iraq. If fully implemented, this should allow international inspectors to find and destroy all chemical, biological and nuclear weapons; find and destroy the missiles to deliver those weapons; and to institute a system for long-term monitoring to make sure Iraq does not build more.

The agreement applies to all sites in Iraq, including eight disputed presidential palaces, which were among areas to which UN weapons inspectors previously had been denied access.

Senior diplomats will be appointed by the UN Secretary-General in consultation with the UN Special Commission for Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency to accompany weapons experts inspecting the eight palace sites. No deadline or limits on the number of visit to the sites are included in the agreement.

The "special group" appointed by Mr Annan will operate under the established procedures of Unscom and IAEA as well as under "specific, detailed procedures which will be developed, given the special nature of the presidential sites, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions." There was no indication in the document what those as yet undeveloped procedures will entail, a potential trouble-spot.

The UN reiterated the commitment of all member-states to respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

While there were no time lines for lifting economic sanctions imposed by the UN more than seven years ago, the agreement says that lifting them "is obviously of paramount importance" to the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government.

The agreement notes the progress achieved by weapons inspectors in various disarmament areas, and the need to intensify efforts in order to complete its mandate. The Security Council has said that once completed, sanctions could be lifted. Towards the goal of finishing the task, the document says the UN and Iraq agree to improve their co-operation and efficiency.

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