Iraq turns over list of 500 scientists

Monday, January 6, 2003

NICOSIA Iraq has named more than 500 nationals as scientists who worked in weapons of mass destruction programs for the regime of President Saddam Hussein.

The list contains Iraqis who have worked on nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs. The regime has relayed the list of scientists to the United Nations, Middle East Newsline reported.

"We have received from the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate a list of names of personnel associated with Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programs," UN spokesman Hiro Ueki said.

Officials said the Iraqi list is a vital element of the UN demand to speak to scientists in private regarding Baghdad's WMD programs. They said this could include the prospect of bringing the scientists abroad for questioning.

One Iraqi scientist, Sabah Abdul Nur, has refused to see UN inspectors alone. Another Iraqi scientist, Kadhem Mijbil, denied relaying any information to the inspectors, despite a UN assertion.

So far, UN inspectors have visited scores of suspected WMD sites without finding biological or chemical weapons. The Security Council has asked for a report from the inspectors by Jan. 27.

One site located at Al Qa'qa has been inspected eight times since Nov. 27. The facility is said to manufacture parts for conventional missiles and WMD warheads.

Earlier, a team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission inspected the Mamoun plant, about 60 kilometers south of Baghdad.

UN officials said inspectors tagged several pieces of equipment, which Iraq said it manufactured between 1998 and 2002.

Over the weekend, UN inspectors began setting up a regional office in the northern city of Mosul. "This will help us expand and accelerate our inspections throughout the country, but particularly in the north," Ueki said.

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