The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mr President, Mr Secretary General, the resolution adopted by the security council on Iraq in November last year asks United Nations monitoring, verification and inspection commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency to, “update the council 60 days after the resumption of inspections.” This is today. The updating, it seems, forms part of an assessment by the council and its members of the results so far of the inspections and of their role as a means to achieve verifiable disarmament in Iraq. As this is an open meeting of the council, it may be appropriate briefly to provide some background for a better understanding of where we stand today... I begin by recalling that inspections as a part of a disarmament process in Iraq started in 1991, immediately after the Gulf war. They went on for eight years, until 1998 when inspectors were withdrawn.

Therefore, for nearly four years, there were no inspectors. They were resumed only at the end of November last year. While the fundamental aim of inspections in Iraq has always been to verify disarmament, the successive resolutions adopted by the council... had varied somewhat in emphasis and approach. In 1991, Resolution 687 adopted unanimously as a part of the cease-fire after the Gulf war had five major elements; the first three related to disarmament. They called for declarations by Iraq of its programmes of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles; verification of the declarations through UN special commission and the IAEA; supervision by these organizations of the destruction or the elimination of proscribed programmes and items. After the completion of the disarmament, the council would have the authority to proceed to a lifting of the sanctions and the inspecting organizations would move to long-term, ongoing monitoring and verification.

Resolution 687 in 1991... required cooperation by Iraq, but such was often withheld or given grudgingly. Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed the inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world...As we know, the twin operation to declare and verify...too often turned into a game of hide and seek. Rather than just verify in declarations and supporting evidence, the two inspecting organizations found themselves engaged in efforts to map the weapons programmes and to search for evidence through inspections, interviews, seminars, inquiries with suppliers and intelligence organizations. As a result, the disarmament phase was not completed in the short time expected. Sanctions remained and took a severe toll until Iraq accepted the oil-for-food programme... The Implementation Resolution 687...brought about considerable disarmament results. It has been recognized that more weapons of mass destruction were destroyed under this resolution than were destroyed during the Gulf war. Large quantities of chemical weapons were destroyed under UNSCOM supervision before 1994. While Iraq claims, with little evidence, that it destroyed all biological weapons unilaterally in 1991, it is certain that UNSCOM destroyed large biological weapons production facilities in 1996...

One of the three important questions before us today is, how much might remain undeclared and intact from before 1991 and possibly thereafter' The second question is, what, if anything, was illegally produced or procured after 1998 when the inspectors left' And the third question is, how it can be prevented that any weapons of mass destruction be produced or procured in the future' In December 1999... Resolution 1284 was adopted... supplementing the basic resolutions of 1991 and the following years, it provided Iraq with a somewhat less ambitious approach.

In return for cooperation in all respects for a specified period of time, including progress in the resolution of key remaining disarmament tasks, it opened the possibility not for the lifting, but the suspension of sanctions. For nearly three years, Iraq refused to accept any inspections by UNMOVIC. It was only after appeals by the secretary-general and Arab states and pressure by the United States of America and other member states that Iraq declared on September 16 last year that it would again accept inspections without conditions. Resolution 1441 was adopted on November 8 last year and emphatically reaffirmed the demand on Iraq to cooperate. It required this cooperation to be immediate, unconditional and active. The resolution contained many provisions which we welcome as enhancing and strengthening the inspection regime. The unanimity by which it was adopted sent a powerful signal that the council was of one mind in creating a last opportunity for peaceful disarmament in Iraq through inspection.

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