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UN Appoints Acting Chief for Iraq Weapons Inspection Body
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has decided to designate Demetrius Perricos of Greece as the acting executive chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), a UN spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard said the appointment will be in effect as of July 1, following the departure of incumbent UNMOVIC Chairman Hans Blix at the end of June.

It remains unknown when UN weapons inspectors would return to Iraq, where the US-British coalition forces were busy hunting for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Security Council President Sergey Lavrov of Russia said last week that UNMOVIC would remain a subsidiary of the council until the council revisits its mandate as suggested by resolution 1483.

Blix had indicated that he would retire after his current contract with the UN expires at the end of June.

Perricos was appointed Blix's deputy in January after serving for three years as director of planning and operations for the body.

Perricos joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1972 as a nuclear safeguards inspector. In his 28-year career at the agency, he had extensive experience in Iraq, notably after the end of the Gulf War in 1991. He also led the IAEA team that certified the dismantling of South Africa's nuclear weapons program.

(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2003)

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