Disarmament through effective inspections alternative to armed conflict Blix says

The disarmament of Iraq through the inspection process is an alternative to the avenue of armed conflict, the chief United Nations arms inspector, Hans Blix, said today in Vienna, where he made a brief stopover on his way to Baghdad for further talks with Iraqi officials this weekend.”I think everybody would like to see effective inspections to be the way to disarmament,” Mr. Blix, Executive Chairman of UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), said in an address to a group of inspector trainees. “This is certainly the wish of the Arab world, all Europeans and I’m convinced also of [US] President Bush and [UK Prime Minister Tony] Blair.”The group of 57 men and women from 22 countries, having completed their three-week training course, are going back to their respective countries and are now on a roster from which UNMOVIC can draw personnel for future inspections.In his statement, Mr. Blix also stressed that the disarmament process requires active cooperation from Iraq, both on process and substance. “We had eight years there when a lot was achieved, but we would like to have a disarmament that is quicker than that,” the Executive Chairman said. “The world is not going to wait another eight years.”Mr. Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are expected to arrive tomorrow in Baghdad, where they will hold two days of talks with senior Iraqi officials. A press conference is scheduled for the conclusion of the discussions on Sunday evening.

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