United Nations, Dec. 19 (Reuters): The US told the UN Security Council today that it considered Iraq in “material breach” of a UN resolution over its arms declaration, a term that could trigger war against the Arab nation.
US ambassador John Negroponte told the Security Council that Iraq was in “material breach” because of omissions in its 12,000-page arms declaration.
Although the phrase contained in a tough new UN resolution against Baghdad could be used by Washington to justify war against Iraq, US officials have said that using those words at this stage did not mean an attack was imminent.
Nevertheless, by saying that gaps in Baghdad’s document constituted a material breach, Negroponte fired the opening salvo in piling up charges of serious violations against Iraq.
He said “significant omissions” in the document constituted a material breach, according to diplomats at the meeting.
The chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said before today’s Security Council meeting that Iraq’s arms declaration contained little new information, a conclusion echoed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Speaking just before he addressed the council in closed session, he said the dossier contained little that had not been declared by Baghdad before 1998, when UN arms experts were last in Iraq. “There is a good bit of information about non-arms related activities,” he said. “Not much information about the weapons ... The absence of supporting evidence is what we are talking about, mainly.”
French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin said Iraq’s weapons declaration left some areas unexplained but added he was confident UN inspections would fill in the gaps.
In Baghdad, presidential adviser Amir al-Saadi told a news conference that Iraq was not worried by accusations that its weapons declaration contained little new.
“We are not worried. It's the other side that is worried because there is nothing they can pin on us,” Saadi said just before Blix started his report to the Security Council.