Vienna, Sept. 18 (Reuters): UN arms inspectors are ready to return to Iraq and awaiting a green light from the Security Council to resume the hunt for weapons of mass destruction, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said today.
“I don’t personally expect that green light to come today, but we’re ready when and if that green light does come, whether it’s a day from now or weeks from now,” Mark Gwozdecky, the spokesman for the IAEA, said.
UN arms inspectors in New York and Iraq’s top arms experts agreed yesterday to meet in about 10 days in Vienna to discuss logistics for the inspectors’ return. No firm date has been set.
Iraq has agreed to the unconditional return of the UN arms inspectors, who left in December 1998 and have not been allowed back since.
The IAEA’s Iraq action team handles all nuclear-related issues. UNMOVIC, the New York-based Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission looks after biological and chemical arms and missile technolgy.
Both teams cooperate on inspections, which Baghdad agreed to resume. Although the inspectors were ready to leave at any moment, Gwozdecky said talks between the UN and Iraq would probably have to take place before inspectors arrive.