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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Suspicious material found in UN office not harmful, US authorities conclude

28 September 2007 United States authorities have determined that the potentially hazardous substances removed from the New York office of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) last month pose no threat.

They have concluded the analysis of substances removed from the UNMOVIC premises and determined that these “did not contain any harmful materials,” UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

The UN handed the materials – two small plastic packages with metal and glass containers, ranging in size from small vials to tubes the length of a pen holding liquid substances – to US authorities after they were discovered by UNMOVIC staff who were archiving their offices as the Commission was winding down after the Security Council terminated its mandate in June.

“The United Nations would like to thank the host country authorities for resolving this issue,” Mr. Haq added.

The world body earlier this month appointed a three-member panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the discovery and report to the Secretary-General by the end of October.

The panel is tasked with ascertaining the circumstances under which the substances were brought to UN Headquarters, the reasons why the items were discovered only recently and safety procedures in place and the extent to which they were followed.

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