UN set to renew Iraq sanctions

THE United Nations Security Council met to re-impose sanctions against Iraq yesterday after the head of the UN special commission overseeing Iraq's dismantling of its weapons of mass destruction said yesterday that the conditions had still not been met for sanctions to be eased, writes Charles Richards.

Rolf Ekeus told the council on the eve of the 60-day review of sanctions that monitoring of Iraq's missiles programme to deliver weapons of mass destruction was in place. However other parts of the monitoring programme, concerning nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, were still being assessed. In other words, no change.

This is probably the last time Britain and the US, the main advocates of continued sanctions, will be able to approve their reimposition unopposed. Iraq has been co-operating with the UN inspectors. Dozens of cameras were installed in missile sites in July. Data from around the country are fed to a huge 300- foot tower which rises above the central plain. The International Atomic Energy Agency intends to keep a team in Iraq to oversee long-term monitoring.