U.N. Missile, Supergun Team Going to Iraq With AM-UN-Iraq, Bjt
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) _ U.N. weapons inspectors will travel to Baghdad on Tuesday to look for Iraqi Scud missile launchers and ″superguns,″ officials said Saturday.
The 20-member ballistic weapons team was assembled by the U.N. Special Commission, which has the task of destroying Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction under terms of the Gulf War cease-fire.
Other teams have gone to Iraq to look for chemical weapons and evidence of facilities or programs to produce nuclear and biological weapons.
The latest nuclear weapons team was detained for much of last week in a Baghdad parking lot after it discovered documents it said showed Iraq had been trying to produce nuclear warheads. That standoff ended early Saturday when the Iraqis allowed the inspectors to keep the documents.
Saddam Hussein’s government denied strenuously that it had a secret nuclear weapons project.
The missile team originally was scheduled to go to Iraq last week, but it was held back on the orders of Rolf Ekeus, head of the Special Commission, said Alastair Livingston, chief of operations at the commission’s regional base in Bahrain.
Douglas Englund, an American who heads the missile team, said it has two main objectives.
The first goal is to eliminate 28 Scud fixed-launcher sites in western Iraq, close to the Syrian border, which were used to fire Scuds at Israel during the Gulf War.
The second is the destruction of ultra-long-range ″superguns″ near Baghdad. The Iraqis tested a version of one supergun with a barrel diameter of 14 inches and were planning to build one of 40 inches when British authorities seized the barrel as it was being shipped to Baghdad before the Gulf War.
Englund, from Minneapolis, is a U.S. Army colonel who participated in the destruction of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals under the superpowers’ 1987 treaty to reduce intermediate-range nuclear missiles.