United Nations officials attempted to interview two Iraqis today but the sessions fell through after the individuals insisted on having a witness present, according to a UN spokesman in Baghdad.Officials from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) sought two more private interviews today, and in both cases, the Iraqi individuals showed up with a person at the agreed hotel and insisted on having the individual with them during an interview. “Consequently, no private interviews took place,” Hiro Ueki said.Meanwhile, two UNMOVIC biological teams inspected distilleries in the area about 30 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. Both the Al Tharthar Distillery and the Al Awaaly Distillery are privately owned facilities, which produce Arak, gin and whiskey. A third biological team inspected an infectious diseases diagnostic laboratory located in the Central Public Health laboratories building in central Baghdad.In Basra, an UNMOVIC chemical team went by helicopter to inspect the State Company for Petrochemicals Industry, which is primarily involved in the production of chlorine and polymers.As for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), one team performed an inspection at the 17th April Facility in Baghdad, which produces precision castings for industrial purposes, while a second performed a motorized radiation survey in areas southeast of Baghdad.In other news, air sampling equipment has been installed by the IAEA and is operating on the roof of the Canal Hotel, the operations base for the Agency’s inspections in Iraq. “This is the initial step in the re-installation of both fixed and mobile air samplers as part of wide-area environmental monitoring in Iraq,” Mr. Ueki noted.

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