UNITED NATIONS – The chief U.N. weapons inspector said Wednesday that Iraq is showing signs of complying with its obligations to disarm and is cooperating with inspectors in some areas.
On the issue of the Al Samoud 2 missiles, which Iraq is destroying, Hans Blix told reporters: "The missiles is real disarmament."
"Here weapons that can be used in war are being destroyed in fairly large quantities."
He also said seven Iraqi scientists have submitted to private interviews under his terms. Previously, scientists had either been questioned in the presence of Iraqi government officials or had tape-recorded the interviews.
Blix said that he has asked an Arab country, which he did not identify, to host inspectors and potential Iraqi scientists who agree to be interviewed outside Iraq. He said Cyprus was also a possible location for conducting interviews and that several countries had offered asylum for any scientists who want to leave Iraq.
But the chief inspector said some of his weapons experts were skeptical of Iraq's suggestion that they could verify Baghdad's claims to have dumped its biological materials more than a decade ago by digging in areas where the Iraqis say the dumping took place.
Blix couldn't say whether he thought inspections would continue through the summer, given the massive U.S. troop build-up in the region and the talk of war.
"We don't know what's going to happen," he said, adding that his teams have an evacuation plan should they need to leave Baghdad on short notice.