SA disarmament experts land in Iraq

24th February 2003

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, leading a team of South African experts on disarmament have arrived in Baghdad, Iraq.

The team of experts consists of Deon Smit, Armscor General Manager: Acquisitions, and Col (Dr) B Steyn, a Chemical and Biological Defence Advisor to the Surgeon General, Dr Philip Coleman Managing Director of Protechnik, South Africa's designated single small-scale facility in terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Dr Coleman is the technical advisor to the South African delegation to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and has extensive knowledge on the verification of the destruction of chemical weapons.

Super Moloi of the Presidential Support Group, and Daan van Beek Director, Non-Proliferation and Space at the Department of Trade and Industry, are also in Iraq. Van Beek is the head of the Secretariat for the Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which implements South Africa's non-proliferation legislation on a day-to-day-basis.

Also part of the delegation are Peter Goosen, Chief Director: Peace and Security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Tom Markram Director: Peace and Security, Department of Foreign Affairs.

President Mbeki, in his response to Parliament on Tuesday, 18th February 2003 said the following: "Between them they will be able to address all matters that relate to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, missile systems, non-proliferation and disarmament, affecting all weapons of mass destruction."
"They have worked with the UN Conference on Disarmament and the international bodies responsible for the enforcement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions."
"As they leave our shores, we wish them God-speed, confident that they will contribute everything they can to help Iraq fully to respond proactively to the obligations imposed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1441."
"They will travel to Baghdad as representatives of the prayers for the world peace of the peoples of Africa, the Non-Aligned Movement, the rest of the world, as well as ourselves. Hopefully, what they will do, freely to share their invaluable knowledge and experience, to facilitate the work both of the UN weapons inspectors and the Government of Iraq, will bring us back from the brink of war, while helping to ensure that Iraq is truly free of weapons of mass destruction," concluded President Mbeki -GCIS.