CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Iraqi News Conference
Aired January 2, 2003 - 10:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we are going to take you live to Baghdad. This is the weekly briefing, the Iraqis' point of view on how the weapons inspections are going. You're listening to the General Hossam Mohammed Amin, head of Iraq's national monitoring directorate.
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GEN. HOSSAM AMIN, IRAQI NATIONAL MONITORING DIRECTORATE: An inspection flight has been postponed. On December the 28th, we handed over a list of the names of the scientists who have taken part in previous programs. We have also been informed from the sources in Baghdad that Mr. Hans Blix will be visiting Baghdad in the third week of this month, responding to an invitation by Mr. Amir al- Saadi.
The number of sites that have been inspected, 230 sites; 37 of those were not included in the inspection -- as part of these inspections have been inspected during various times. The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) center was inspected on the 29th and 31st of December. Asamoud (ph) site, which has been inspected four times so far, the last time was on the 30th, the inspectors surprised everybody by visiting the site and created a deal of provocation to the people who were working there.
The last five weeks have seen intensive activities using high- tech equipment. And the results have confirmed the Iraqi version, that is Iraq is free of any banned substances, and that has allayed the fears of the committee.
It shows that between '98 and to the time they returned to Baghdad. This is the period that they were concentrating on. This is also the period which the United States and Britain have singled out as the period where Iraq allegedly carried out illegal activity. It's been proved now that it's all lies, and the inspectors haven't been able to find anything during their work.
AMIN: ... ladies and gentlemen. I would like to tell you that the holiday of the Christmas and the New Year did not prevent the inspectors from their inspection activities, intrusively and effectively to the Iraqi sides. Even this holiday did not prevent them from decreasing their total number. The total number was notably increasing. And now, today, for example, the total number of the staff is 188; half of them are inspectors.
On 31st of December, the UNMOVIC and IAEA started to open their new headquarters in Mosul in a hotel. It is temporary headquarters. In (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hotel near the University of Mosul. And the Iraqi side provide the necessary support, logistic support for this new headquarters.
The activities in Mosul will start on the 4th of this month, on this Saturday.
Six helicopters were assembled in al-Rashid air base. Three of them are of American manufacturing origin, model (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 212, and the other three are of Russian-made model (UNINTELLIGIBLE). There are 34 conducting air survey and air transportation for the inspectors.
It was decided to start the aerial activities on the 1st of January, but it was postponed for a technical reason.
On Saturday, the 28th of December, we delivered the list of the names of scientists and engineers that participated in the past programs -- chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs. BMVC in Baghdad -- I mean, Baghdad Monitoring and Verification Centre, BMVC, told us that Mr. Hans Blix will conduct a visit to Baghdad in response to Iraq's objection mentioned in General Amir (ph) al-Saadi letter dated on 28th of December, suggesting this visit and to discuss some technical issues related to the implementation of Security Council resolutions in addition to discussing the so-called pending issues from the commission (ph) point of view.
LIN: All right. You have been listening to General Hossam Amin, who is the head of Iraq's national monitoring directorate. A couple of things that just came up in the meeting. It sounded like pretty much housekeeping there. Just acknowledging that Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, will be returning to Iraq prior to delivering his final report to the United Nations, which is due January 27.
And also, the Iraqis being very upset and complaining about the weapons inspections continuing yesterday, on their holiday, the New Year's day, and complaining that they were being intrusive and forcing people to go to work -- go to the office to allow weapons inspectors access to, among many things, a brewery and a 7-Up bottling plant, and a missile repair factory.
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