(Cites doubts about Saddam's intentions)  (620)
By Judy Aita
USIA United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- The United Nations Special Commission destroying Iraq's
chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles is continuing its
search for the outlawed weapons because "there is a high degree of
skepticism" among Security Council member countries about Saddam Hussein's
intentions, a U.N. expert says.

"Very few believe that Iraq really will cooperate with us," Ambassador Rolf
Ekeus declared at a news conference October 27 at the United Nations.

Ekeus, chairman of the special U.N. Commission (UNSCOM), returned recently
from consultations with Security Council members in London and Paris to
assess UNSCOM's work and explore how to proceed with the long-term
monitoring and other aspects of the cease-fire resolution.

According to Ekeus, UNSCOM's 45th inspection team is midway through its
search for Iraqi SCUD missiles and their production systems, operational
details, and suppliers.

While Ekeus said the mission has uncovered "some very interesting
1evelopments" in visits to some suspected sites, it has failed to find any
of the 200 Scuds intelligence sources believe Iraq is hiding.

The ambassador explained that the team is looking for information on
development and acquisition of fuel, the ballistic missile's very complex
guidance system, and how launchers were used during the Iran/Iraq and
Persian Gulf wars.  From that information, the commission may be able to
determine the number of Iraqi missiles remaining.

The United Nations has destroyed 139 Scud missiles and  launchers in the
past year.  But intelligence sources have estimated that Iraq imported some
890 missiles from the former Soviet Union before and during the Iran/Iraq
war.  It subsequently developed "a very successful program" to modify the
missiles to increase their range and used them during the gulf war, Ekeus

Ekeus also said that the commission's analysts have found no evidence so far
to support a U.S. claim that Iraq has hidden nuclear weapons facilities,
but he said UNSCOM will continue with U-2 reconnaissance flights to search
for such evidence.

While Iraq has cooperated somewhat with the present mission, Ekeus noted
that Saddam Hussein has made inflammatory statements about the U.N. group
"which of course cannot other than create great concerns.  Our team in Iraq
has been subjected to low level harassment; there is still psychological
warfare which has been very disturbing for us.  On the other side, on the
professional level, there are some positive activities."

One of the keys to an improved relationship with the council would be
Baghdad's willingness to reveal details of Iraq's supply network, the
ambassador said.

"For us the supply pattern is of the utmost importance for outlining finally
if Iraq is complying with the resolution," he said, noting that "this is
probably the most jealously guarded secret" Iraq has.

The U.N. cease-fire resolution specifically links the destruction of weapons
with the lifting of the oil embargo, Ekeus noted, adding that he has been
talking with Security Council members about providing Iraq "with some sort
of carrot; namely, if Iraq has completely fulfilled all its obligations
under the resolution, is the council then ready to take some action as a
consequence of that."

But, the ambassador said, "Iraq has not so far fulfilled its obligations.
We have not implemented the first stage of the cease-fire," and the
governments are too skeptical of Saddam Hussein to even begin such a

Of special importance in the current inspection work will be to determine
"how Iraq intends to act" in fulfilling its other obligations to UNSCOM,
Ekeus said.  "A forthcoming attitude from Iraq will create a more
interesting political situation."