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World - Middle East

Swiss tests show no nerve gas on Iraqi missile fragments, sources say

UNSCOM inspector on the job  
September 29, 1998
Web posted at: 7:10 p.m. EDT (2310 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Sources say Swiss tests of Iraqi missile fragments have turned up negative for traces of the deadly nerve agent VX.

However, officials of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, the agency in charge of ridding Iraq of banned weapons, say similar tests done by France are not complete and therefore "in essence the story is not yet complete."

In June, tests of missile fragments conducted by a U.S. laboratory found traces of VX on 11 out of 44 missile chunks tested.

After protests by Iraq, the Security Council sanctioned a new round of tests for VX to be conducted by the Swiss and French labs.

Experts returned to Iraq in July to take swipes and swabs of missile samples that had been excavated from the same round of missile chunks used in the American tests and kept in a Baghdad warehouse. Forty such samples were sent to France, 40 to Switzerland.

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