UN closes bodies that monitored Saddam's WDMs

In what the US and Iraq hailed as an "historic day," the Security Council voted Friday to immediately close down the UN inspection bodies that played a pivotal role in monitoring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs under Saddam Hussein's regime. The resolution terminating the mandate of the UN bodies responsible for overseeing the dismantling of Saddam's programs to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles was approved by a vote of 14-0 with Russia abstaining. "This is an historic day," said US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. "It turns a new page, opens a new chapter with regard to Iraq and WMD," the initials for weapons of mass destruction. But Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin objected to the council's failure to comply with previous resolutions demanding that the inspectors certify that Iraq has no banned weapons or missiles before terminating their mandate.