LE MONDE, Paris (12/02/2003):

Corinne Heraud, French member of the United Nations inspection team and in charge of ballistic missiles, describes her job in Iraq.

As to the missiles, the inspector's task is to ensure that the limit of their range is restricted to 150 km.

In a document that reached Mr. Blix, responsible for the inspection team and Mme Heraud's superior, Baghdad already admitted having slightly surpassed the official limit in some singular tests: Such, the missile Al-Samoud (neighbouring photo), that is powered by liquid fuel, has reached 183 km. Al-Fatah, a missile powered by solid fuel, has reached 160 km. Furthermore, Iraqi military has increased the allowed diametre of missiles (600 mm) to 760 mm. Despite an embargo, 380 engines for Al-Samoud have been imported. Additional material not mentioned. That information has been included in the official document from Baghdad, cited above, and was handed over to Mr. Blix in October 2002.

Mme Heraud has visited the mentioned experimental site of Al-Rafah at least half a dozen times. As to her, a long time survey of such sites will ensure that Iraqi military cannot develop long-range missiles.

Nevertheless, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell insisted in his speech of 5 February 2003 in front of the U.N. Security Council that this very site of Al-Rafah could serve the development of ballistic missiles reaching Israel and southern Russia.

Though avoiding any official comment on the latest proceedings in New York, Mme Heraud makes it clear: "This is a work of long endurance. They should let us do our job."