ACCESSION NUMBER:263553 FILE ID:POL217 DATE:01/19/93 TITLE:U.N. EXPECTS TO RESUME WEAPONS INSPECTIONS IN IRAQ (01/19/93) TEXT:*93011917.POL U.N. EXPECTS TO RESUME WEAPONS INSPECTIONS IN IRAQ (Baghdad assures safety of U.N. personnel) (470) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent United Nations -- The standoff between Iraq and the United Nations Security Council's Special Commission overseeing the Iraqi weapons destruction (UNSCOM) appeared to be over January 19 and the U.N. is making plans to return its inspectors to Iraq. 1mbassador Rolf Ekeus, UNSCOM chairman, said that the commission received "'a short note verbale'" from Baghdad that "we take seriously and look upon in a positive light." The note said that Iraq approves the resumption of inspections "under the previous modalities," Ekeus added. Speaking with journalists after a private meeting with the Security Council, Ekeus said that he also received "very clear" verbal assurances from Nizar Hamdoon, Iraqi ambassador to the U.N., regarding the safety and security of the U.N. personnel and aircraft. Ekeus said that Iraq's statement and the verbal assurances from Hamdoon "could be interpreted as acceptable" and while he "can't assume it, really, we are hopeful (the dispute with Iraq) is over at least at this moment." The chairman said that he is "quite optimistic and we are pressing ourselves to fly into Iraq with our teams" in the next few days. "Tomorrow we have to analyze the situation and prepare our people and get further information from the ground. But we will start as soon as we are assured it can be safely done," he said. Ekeus added that he hoped it was the final chapter "in this sad story" that began earlier in the month with Iraq's denial of the U.N. flights and culminated in air attacks against Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition forces. The Security Council has reportedly received a lengthy communique from Iraq covering several aspects of the conflict between the U.N. and Iraq, including the no-fly zones as well as UNSCOM. However, Ekeus said that he was basing his assessment on the Iraqi diplomatic note on the flights. Asked about the unity of the allied coalition which conducted air strikes in Iraq during the dispute, Ekeus said that he found "good unity." He added that UNSCOM "under extremely difficult circumstances" assessed the "fanciful conditions and vague threats to our personnel" but "on every response -- every response -- we came with a new opening. We were very generous and very constructive in opening up" opportunities for Iraq to fulfill its cease-fire obligations. Responding to Iraqi charges that UNSCOM employed U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents, Ekeus said "they are wrong. We have no CIA agents employed." "Of course, we get briefings from various services and we welcome that. But we have an information assessment unit: they give us data and we evaluate it. Sometimes it's impressive sometimes its useless." NNNN .