No proof of WMD in Iraq: UN expert
So far, proof that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction has not been produced," Mohamed ElBaradei told a German weekly.Updated: Apr 12, 2003 18:39 IST
The head of the United Nations' nuclear agency said in remarks released on Saturday that there was no proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that UN experts, not US officials, should have the final word on testing any suspicious substances.
"So far, proof that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction has not been produced," Mohamed ElBaradei told Germany's Bild am Sonntag weekly.
"It's not enough for suspicious materials that have been found to be tested in American laboratories, the results must be checked by the UN weapons inspectors," he was quoted as saying. "Only in this way can credible statements be made about possible remaining weapons."
The US government insists Iraq was hoarding weapons of mass destruction that could fall into the hands of terrorists, but its forces have yet to find conclusive evidence of chemical, biological or nuclear arms.
Lab tests are still being conducted on the contents of metal drums discovered by soldiers south of Baghdad last week, though military officials also have said they could be pesticides.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said he expects UN weapons inspectors to be able to return as soon as possible, saying they still had the mandate to find Iraqi weapons programmes. But the Bush administration hasn't invited UN inspectors to take part.
"If banned weapons are found, only the United Nations has the authority to dispose of them, not the United States," ElBaradei said.
First Published: Apr 12, 2003 18:39 IST