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Saturday, 4 May, 2002, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
Iraq 'still hiding weapons'
The BBC's Tim Sebastian met for UN arms inspector Terence Taylor
A former arms inspector has claimed that Iraq is still hiding "significant" quantities of materials to make nuclear and biological weapons.

Terence Taylor said that during his four years as an inspector he saw evidence of a biological weapons programme.

He told BBC HARDtalk that he believed that no new information has come to light to make him think that the situation has changed.

"It's a reasonable conclusion to make that they wanted to hide these programmes, they've continued to hide these programmes and they've progressed them," he said.

"I think there are significant quantities of material that are still being hidden or unaccounted for."


As part of the agreement that ended the Gulf War, Iraq first allowed inspectors into the country in 1991.

But inspectors left in 1998, just before the US led a series of air strikes on the country. Iraq has repeatedly refused to let them return.

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
Iraq has not yet agreed to allow arms inspectors to return
Mr Taylor spoke out only two days after Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri met UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York to discuss the possibility of resuming international arms inspections in Iraq.

Mr Taylor believes Iraq is willing to accept the return of inspection teams because of the threat from Washington of military strikes

"I think its very worrying for Iraq," he said.

"I think it's a re-appearance after six years absence of a genuine threat of substantial military force and we're seeing the reaction to that."


Mr Taylor also spoke how the lack of co-operation from the Iraqis made carrying out his job much more difficult.

We were faced with an elaborate concealment plan

Terence Taylor
"It took us four and a half years from the time the inspection process started to get the evidence that we could present to the UN Security Council that was convincing."

"It took us until the beginning of 1995 to get evidence because we were faced with an elaborate concealment plan."

You can watch the HARDtalk interview in full at the following times:

BBC News 24 (times shown in GMT)
3 May April 0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT)
3 May 0430, repeated 1130, 1630, 1930, 0030

See also:

09 Mar 02 | Middle East
Iraq attacks US over arms inspections
01 May 02 | Americas
Annan renews talks with Iraq
07 Mar 02 | Middle East
Washington's case against Saddam
03 May 02 | Middle East
Iraqi refugees hope for US strike
29 Apr 02 | Middle East
Bush 'still undecided' on Iraq
23 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Action against Iraq 'difficult'
03 Apr 02 | Middle East
Iraq issues challenge to Britain
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