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UN inspectors should return quickly to Iraq: ElBaradei

UN weapons inspectors should return to Iraq as quickly as possible to "finish the job," IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said in a televised interview on Sunday.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2003 14:25 IST

United Nations weapons inspectors should return to Iraq as quickly as possible to "finish the job," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Mohamed ElBaradei said in a televised interview on Sunday.

Interviewed on CNN, ElBaradei said that he did not believe ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear weapons programme.

All the information made public up to now "supports our tentative conclusion before the war that we haven't seen any evidence that Iraq was trying to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program," ElBaradei said.

"I think it would be prudent for us to go back to Iraq and, frankly, finish the job," he added.

ElBaradei said that his agency has strong credibility after a decade of experience working in Iraq, and his inspectors should return to Iraq along with the UN inspectors searching for evidence of Saddam's chemical and biological programs.

ElBaradei also urged US officials searching for evidence of Iraq's banned weapons program to share any findings with the IAEA, "as the nuclear aspect of it."

"We need to bring that file to closure," he said. "We need to show the international community that Iraq is completely clean from any effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapon program."

The IAEA inspectors are "still waiting on the wings," he said, adding that he has received no clear answer from the US government over whether they need help. "But I think it is in the interest of the United States and of everybody that we go back and finish the job," he said.

First Published: Nov 03, 2003 02:55 IST