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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
UN 'to detail lack of Iraqi WMDs'
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei
ElBaradei's teams have not been back to Iraq since the invasion
Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear agency are to go to Iraq to "draft the final report on the absence of weapons of mass destruction" there.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the move followed a request by Iraq's foreign minister.

Mohamed ElBaradei said the team would not continue the search for banned weapons, but detail the situation so remaining sanctions could be lifted.

UN inspectors left Iraq just before the US-led invasion in March last year.

Following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the US sent its own teams to search for weapons of mass destruction, but no such weapons have been found.

Claims that Iraq possessed banned weapons were used by the US and UK as the key reason for going to war.

An IAEA spokeswoman in Vienna said the inspectors going to Iraq would be carrying out a regular inventory of nuclear material which is part of Iraq's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Mr ElBaradei told reporters in Cairo: "The return of inspectors to Iraq is an absolute necessity, not to search for weapons of mass destruction, but to draft the final report on the absence of WMDs in Iraq so that the international community can lift the sanctions."

Last May, the UN Security Council lifted all sanctions imposed during the rule of Saddam Hussein, except for those on arms.

The US handed power to an interim Iraqi government on 28 June.

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