UNITED NATIONS — Iraq unconditionally accepted the return of U.N. weapons inspectors late Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, nearly four years after the inspectors left Baghdad.
“I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of inspectors without conditions to continue their work,” a pleased Annan said.
“There is good news,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said moments earlier. Sabri refused to comment further and left U.N. headquarters after a day of negotiations on the text of the letter.
Sabri and Arab League chief Amr Moussa had met late with Annan to transmit the letter from the Iraqi government.
Under Security Council resolutions, sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors certify that its weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed.