Experts fail to find missile evidence

BAGHDAD, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- U.N. arms inspectors failed Thursday to find evidence of Iraqi missiles with a range over the allowed 150 kilometers (93 miles).

Among the sites searched by experts from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency were warehouses of the Fida company that produces the propellers for al-Fatih and al-Sumud ballistic missiles that are supposed to be within the range permitted under U.N. resolutions.


The arms' experts fanned out in the company's premises and warehouses in a western Baghdad suburb without finding an evidence to back diplomatic reports that the missiles had ranges more than it is allowed internationally.

The United Nations reported Wednesday that a team under the direction of chief weapons inspector Hans Blix had concluded that a major Iraqi ballistic missile program was in clear violation of U.N. prohibition on building medium- and long-range missiles.

Western analysts said the U.N. finding was likely to mean that Blix's report Friday to the U.N. Security Council would be tougher on Iraqi violations of U.N. resolutions than it otherwise would have been.

Also Thursday UNMOVIC inspectors were expected to destroy four plastic containers and ten bombs containing mustard gas discovered at a site close to the Muthanna company which is run by Iraq's Department of Military Industries north of Baghdad.


UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors Thursday also visited eight sites suspected of producing weapons of mass destruction. Among them were al-Fida, Badr al Kubra and al-Muthanna installations that specialized in the production of missile parts.

A biological team also searched an airfield used for agricultural purposes east of Baghdad.

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