Iraq Submits a New List of its Scientists

Iraq has submitted a new list of the names of scientists involved in its former chemical weapons programme to the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) on Saturday, a spokesman for the UN arms inspectors said.

In his daily briefing to reporters here, Hiro Ueki said the list contained the names of 183 scientists and technicians, in addition to a previous list sent to UNMOVIC with names of 132 experts.

The UNMOVIC databases, he noted, indicate that over 325 individuals were engaged in chemical weapons-related research or had leading positions associated with the production of chemical agents at the Al-Muthanna State Enterprise, some 120 km to the northwest of Baghdad.

Ueki also said Iraq destroyed three more of its UN-prohibited Al-Samoud 2 missiles on Saturday, bringing the total number of such missiles destroyed during the past two weeks to 68 out of the total Iraqi arsenal of 120.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in its daily briefing that the US U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flew 6 hours and 15 minutesover Iraqi territory on Saturday.

The flight of the planes had created a crisis between Iraq and the United States, because the latter had sent two of such aircraft to fly over Iraq, while Iraq understands that only one U-2 spy plane is on such a mission in accordance with the relevant UN agreement.

In another development, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's scientific advisor Amer al-Saadi on Saturday invited chief UN inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei to visit Baghdad "as soon as possible" to resolve the pending issues related to disarmament.

The visit is aimed to "examine ways to accelerate cooperation between Iraq and the two organizations in all areas, especially facilitating the verification process of issues considered outstanding by Blix and ElBaradei," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The invitation followed a letter sent by Iraq to Blix, containing evidence about the destruction of its nerve gas VX sincethe end of the 1991 Gulf War.

Blix and ElBaradei have visited Baghdad two times since the UN resumed weapons inspections in Iraq last November after a four-yearsuspension.

People's Daily Online ---