Friday March 28, 2003


In response to media and public interest in the New Zealand Defence Force personnel who were recently evacuated to Cyprus from the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) in Iraq, there will be a media briefing in Wellington late next week at which Major Graham Wellesley, the NZ Senior National Officer in Iraq, will be available to brief media on the NZ contribution to the mission.

Some members of the 13 strong contribution to the mission arrived back in NZ on the night of Wednesday March 27, with the remainder arriving tonight, March 28. They are not available for interview at this time.

Major Wellesley arrives home next week and the venue, date and time of the media brief will be advised as soon as arrangements are made.


Released by
Wing Commander John Seward
HQNZDF Press Officer
Ph: +64 4 496 0299


The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) was created through the adoption of Security Council resolution 1284 of 17 December 1999. UNMOVIC was to replace the former UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and continue with the latter’s mandate to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological weapons and missiles with a range of more than 150 km), and to operate a system of ongoing monitoring and verification to check Iraq’s compliance with its obligations not to reacquire the same weapons prohibited to it by the Security Council.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed Dr. Hans Blix of Sweden to be the Commission’s Executive Chairman. In addition, the Secretary-General appointed 16 individuals to serve on the College of Commissioners of UNMOVIC which provides advice and guidance to the Chairman in the execution of his duties. In conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, the Commission’s staff are selected on the basis of securing the highest standard of efficiency, competence and integrity, taking into consideration the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.

The Commission’s staff include weapons specialists, analysts, scientists, engineers and operational planners. The Commission is financed from a small portion of the monies raised from the export of oil from Iraq (the “oil-for-food” programme). Unlike its predecessor, UNSCOM, the staff of UNMOVIC are employees of the United Nations. In addition to the Office of the Chairman with executive, legal and liaison functions, UNMOVIC comprises four divisions (Planning and Operations, Analysis and Assessment, Information, Technical Support and Training) as well as an administrative service.

The Commission maintains its headquarters at the United Nations in New York. The Organisational Plan and structure chart of the Commission are available in document S/2000/292 The Executive Chairman is required to report to the Security Council on the activities of UNMOVIC every three months. In accordance with the resolution establishing UNMOVIC, he must consult the College of Commissioners on written reports to the Council. Thus, the College of Commissioners of UNMOVIC meets at least four times a year in closed session to discussion the report and other organizational and operational activities.