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Chief UN Inspector Wishes to Do Further Inspection Work Independently
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix voiced confidence Tuesday that the Security Council would want his inspection team to return to Iraq.

Blix also expressed intention to continue inspections independently.

"In the absence of guidance to the contrary from the council, it would be our intention to submit a next quarterly UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) report for the period March 1 to June 1," Blix told the 15-member council in a closed meeting.

Meanwhile, he underlined that it is evident that the situation in Iraq is still insecure and "where military considerations and measures dominate, civilian international inspection can hardly operate."

He stressed that the mandate for his work remains unchanged and he would do the inspection work independently.

"The inspecting authorities would need to remain independent of all individual governments and authorities to retain international credibility in their work for the council," he told the council.

He said he will not act as the head of UNMOVIC after his contract expire in June. "I did not want (my mandate) to run beyond the month of June and I have subsequently made it known that I do not wish to prolong it," he said.

"The purpose of the setting up of the UNMOVIC was to have an independent verification, one that was not on leash from any government and I am sure that the council would want to persist in that attitude," Blix told reporters after the meeting.

Asked whether it was possible to have full credibility in what the United States might find in Iraq without UN inspectors' involvement, he replied: "We may not be the only ones in the world who have credibility. But I think we do have credibility for being objective and independent."

Blix said he would discuss with the Council his readiness to go back to Iraq but also "the need for some signals and adjustments of the basis for our work there by the Security Council. We are serving the Council, as you know."

(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2003)

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