UN shuts down Iraq weapons inspection unit
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council voted Friday to immediately close down the U.N. inspection bodies that played a pivotal role in monitoring Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs under Saddam Hussein.
The resolution, approved by a vote of 14-0, terminated the mandate of the U.N. bodies responsible for overseeing the dismantling of Hussein’s programs to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles.
Russia abstained, saying there was still “no clear answer to the existence of weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.
Since 2005, the United States has been trying to get the Security Council to wrap up the work of the inspectors, who were pulled out of Iraq just before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and were barred by the U.S. from returning.
Iraq’s new leaders also have been lobbying for the council to stop using the country’s oil revenue to pay the salaries of the inspectors — and to have all money remaining in the U.N.’s oil-for-food account transferred to the government.
The resolution authorizes Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to transfer all remaining unallocated funds in the oil-for-food account to Iraq’s Development Fund — about $60 million.