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UN inspectors interview Iraqi scientists
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Saturday, 28 December 2002
After a foru-year hiaturs, UN inspectors resumed their interviews of Iraqi scientists on Dec 24, questioning at length an expert at Baghdad Technical University. During its examination of the university, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requested an interview with a particular Iraqi scientist, conducted separately from the rest of the inspection, according to a spokesman for the Agency and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). "The scientist consented to a lengthy interview regarding technical activities in Iraq," said Hiro Ueki in Baghdad. "The interview was conducted in a private office chosen at random, without cameras, or recordings being present. The interviewee requested an Iraqi witness to join him." * Acting unanimously, the UN Security Council Dec. 20 adopted humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions imposed on Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates. The sanctions date back to 1999, with the Councils adoption of resolution 1267 in response to the indictment of Usama bin Laden for the 1998 terrorist bombings of United States embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam. They were subsequently tightened by resolutions 1333 (2000) and 1390 (2002). * A draft resolution which would have had the Security Council condemn recent Israeli acts, including the killing of several UN aid workers, was defeated this week by the U.S., which in casting a no vote effectively vetoed the text. Twelve countries voted in favor of the Syria-sponsored draft, with Bulgaria and Cameroon abstaining. In addition to decrying Israels recent killing of UN employees, the text noted that one had been an international staff member working in the Jenin refugee camp. The draft also cited Israels "deliberate destruction of a UN World Food Program (WFP) warehouse in Beit Lahiya in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which 537 metric tons of donated food supplies intended for distribution to needy Palestinians had been stored." The draft would have demanded that Israel comply fully with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, and "refrain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." Explaining his countrys position, U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte said the recent incidents referred to in the text were serious and must be investigated. The draft, however, did not urge action by all concerned to minimize the threat to UN personnel and facilities.
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