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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq: UN envoy continues meetings with political leaders

10 June ? Continuing his talks with Iraqi politicians, United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello told an Islamic leader today that the world body was bringing its experience and independence to the Iraqi people to help them in the full restoration of their sovereignty and their civil, political, economic and social rights.

Mr. Vieira de Mello, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, discussed with Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, senior member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), issues related to the current transition and explored how to advance the political process. They agreed to continue these consultations.

Tomorrow, Mr. Sergio de Mello is expected to meet the leader of Al-Da'wa Party, Ibrahim al-Ja'afari. Yesterday, he saw Hamid Al-Bayati, a member of SCIRI's Central Committee and on Sunday he met with Adnan Pachachi, a former Foreign Minister.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has decided to name Demetrius Perricos acting head of the UN weapons inspection team as of 1 July, when the current Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, retires.

Mr. Perricos is currently UNMOVIC's Deputy Executive Chairman. Before that appointment in January, he served for three years as the Commission's Director of Planning and Operations.

A native of Greece, he joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1972 as a nuclear safeguards inspector and in a 28-year career had extensive experience in Iraq, notably after the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He also led the IAEA team which certified the dismantling of South Africa's nuclear weapons programme.

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