Skip to main content
CNN EditionWorld
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Iraq Banner

Arms inspectors look to return to Iraq

ElBaradei: U.N. teams could do job faster than U.S. military

ElBaradei:
ElBaradei: "Why should we reinvent the wheel?"

Story Tools

more video VIDEO
A misunderstanding frustrates U.S. troops trying to rescue a Baghdad family. (April 27)
premium content

Iraq's only psychiatric hospital home to 1,200 patients, is looted. (April 27)
premium content

Rumsfeld speaks to reporters as he flies to the Mideast about the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan.
premium content

For many people in Baghdad, life goes on amid hardships.
premium content
SPECIAL REPORT
• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.N. inspectors should be allowed back into Iraq to continue their hunt for weapons of mass destruction, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Sunday.

Mohamed ElBaradei's group was responsible for searching for nuclear arms programs in Iraq alongside U.N. inspectors charged with tracking down chemical and biological weapons before the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

The coalition said Iraq's failure to cooperate with the inspectors helped lead to the war.

"We are the ones who have the most credibility, not because we're the only ones who are trustworthy but because of who we are -- we are the representatives of the international community; we have the independence and impartiality that creates that credibility," ElBaradei said.

"We have been in Iraq for over 10 years, we know the people, we know the infrastructure, we know where to go," ElBaradei said. "Why should we reinvent the wheel?"

ElBaradei predicted that U.N. weapons inspectors could complete the job "in a very short period of time."

Since the war, the United States has taken over the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Before the war, Iraqi leaders had insisted that they had destroyed all such weapons.

It was understandable, ElBaradei said, that U.S.-led coalition forces would handle weapons searches during hostilities, but "once there is a secure environment, I don't see any reason why we should not go back as soon as practical."

ElBaradei said neither he nor chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix have received a direct answer from the Bush administration on if and when U.N. inspectors might be allowed to return to Iraq.

Their return is necessary not only to boost the international community's acceptance of whatever is found, but also to fulfill the mandate they were given under the same United Nations resolution that President Bush said authorized the use of force in Iraq, he said.

Later Sunday, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee endorsed allowing U.N. inspectors back into Iraq.

"It will add greatly, immeasurably to the credibility of any finds," Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan said.

"The skepticism about America in this world is so deep that, if we find and when we find weapons of mass destruction, many people will not believe it," Levin said.

"Many people around the world will think we planted those weapons unless the U.N. inspectors are there with us."


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.