U.N. Removes Another Iraq Inspector
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The United Nations is pulling a Chilean pilot out of Iraq after he violated U.N. rules governing weapons inspections, the chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq said Friday.
The pilot used his own camera to photograph sensitive material, a breach of rules set by a U.N. commission trying to verify that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction, Nils Carlstrom said.
The pilot was the second person to be withdrawn by the United Nations in two weeks.
Carlstrom said Chilean authorities decided to withdraw the pilot after Iraq accused him of spying and Richard Butler, the head of the U.N. Special Commission on Iraqi disarmament, had accepted the request.
The Chilean will leave Iraq on the next available U.N. flight, Carlstrom said, declining to identify him.
U.N. weapons inspectors rely on five Chilean helicopters and 40 crew members for aerial surveillance of weapons sites in Iraq.
Last week, Butler ordered Carl Pfluger, an American inspector, to leave the country for taking pictures with his own camera of a missile site close to Baghdad.
Iraqi newspapers reported Pfluger’s withdrawal with glee Friday.
The commission ``withdraws one of its spies (Pfluger) from Iraq,″ trumpeted the official newspaper Al-Iraq.
Iraq has repeatedly accused the U.N. weapons inspectors of espionage and since Aug. 5 has blocked surprise inspections by the experts, who are charged with supervising the elimination of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
But Carlstrom said the withdrawals should not be interpreted as admission that the commission, known as UNSCOM, was involved in espionage.
``(The pilot’s) withdrawal is not due to the wrongful allegations of espionage, but to the fact that he violated UNSCOM’s own rules regarding the non-use of personal cameras on inspections.″
Both the pilot and Pfluger will be dismissed from the commission, Carlstrom added.
Under U.N. Security Council resolutions passed after the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq must show it has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction before the world body will lift trade sanctions imposed after the invasion of Kuwait.