Chief UN arms inspector Mohamed ElBaradei on Friday urged a "drastic change" in Iraq's cooperation with inspections as a US-led war on Iraq looms large.
Speaking to reporters in Cyprus before heading for Iraq, ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said he and his fellow Hans Blix wanted to see a "drastic change" in Baghdad's cooperation.
"We expect to see drastic change with regard to particular areas, the areas of surveillance flights, and the question of private interviews, these are the areas where it is important to move on," ElBaradei said.
However, he said there is still a chance to solve the Iraqi crisis through the inspections.
"We still believe that inspections are the alternative to war, and not a prelude," he said, while welcoming the first private interview held between UN experts and an Iraqi scientist Thursday.
On Friday, UN arms inspectors had private interviews with three Iraqi scientists.
Blix, who heads the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), also arrived in Cyprus later in the day en route to Iraq.
The two chief arms inspectors will return to Baghdad on Saturdayfor fresh talks on Iraq's disarmament, and are expected to deliver their updated reports to the UN Security Council on Feb. 14, when analysts term as a crucial moment for peace or war.
A US-led war on Iraq looms large as the United States has stepped up its military buildup in the Gulf region.