Australian To Head First Iraq Weapons Inspection Team

July 7, 2008 - 8:12 PM

Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - An Australian was named Thursday as chief weapons inspector on the first team to be sent to Iraq under a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

The Australian government named Dr. Bill Jolley, a member of the armed forces who is currently on leave and working with the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) in New York.

The first team is scheduled to travel to Iraq next week, and Jolley will head it for one month, from Dec. 3, according to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Defense Minister Robert Hill.

On Wednesday, Iraq told the U.N. it would cooperate with the new resolution (UNSC 1441). In a nine-page letter, Iraq said it wanted to prove it had no unconventional weapons.

"Saddam Hussein accepted resolution 1441 only with an assertion that Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction," the Australian ministers said.

"This is not the case to the best of our knowledge. Robust inspections will enable this issue to be tested."

Under the resolution, the inspectors have until Dec. 23 to begin their duties, and must report to the council 60 days after starting work.

They are permitted to go anywhere, anytime in their search for WMD. If Baghdad doesn't cooperate, the inspectors are required to notify the council immediately. The resolution states that Iraq faces "serious consequences" if it fails to comply.

It also sets Dec. 8 as a deadline for Iraq to fully disclose, in writing, all of its nuclear, chemical and biological warfare programs.