The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The United Nations monitoring, verification and inspection commission shares the sense of urgency felt by the council to use inspection as a path to attain...verifiable disarmament of Iraq.

Under the resolutions I have cited, it would be followed by monitoring for such time as the council feels would be required. The resolutions also point to a zone free of weapons of mass destruction as the ultimate goal. As a subsidiary body of the council, UNMOVIC is fully aware of and appreciates the close attention which this council devotes to the inspections in Iraq.

While todayís updating is foreseen in Resolution 1441, the council can and does call for additional briefings whenever it wishes... I turn now, Mr President, to the key requirement of cooperation and Iraqís response to it. Cooperation might be said to relate to both substance and process. It would appear from our experience so far that Iraq has decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, notably access.

A similar decision is indispensable to provide cooperation on substance in order to bring the disarmament task to completion through the peaceful process of inspection and to bring the monitoring task on a firm course. An initial minor step would be to adopt the long overdue legislation required by the resolutions. I shall deal first with cooperation on process. In this regard, it is related to the procedures, mechanisms, infrastructure and practical arrangements to pursue inspections and seek verifiable disarmament. While the inspection is not built on the premise of confidence, but may lead to confidence if it is successful, there must nevertheless be a measure of mutual confidence from the very beginning in running the operation of inspection. Iraq has, on the whole, cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field.The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect..with one exception... We have further had a great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable. Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas Day and New Yearís Day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections...

In this updating, Iím bound, however, to register some problems. The first are related to two kinds of air operations. While we now have the technical capability to send a U-2 plane placed at our disposal for aerial imagery and for surveillance during inspections and have informed Iraq that we plan to do so, Iraq has refused to guarantee its safety unless a number of conditions are fulfilled. As these conditions went beyond what is stipulated in Resolution 1441 and what was practiced by the UN special commission and Iraq in the past, we note that Iraq is not so far complying with our requests. I hope this attitude will change. Another air operation problem ... concerned the use of helicopters flying into the no-fly zones. Iraq had insisted on sending helicopters of their own to accompany ours. This would have raised a safety problem. The matter was solved by an offer on our part to take the accompanying Iraqi minders in our helicopters to the sites, an arrangement that had been practiced by UNSCOM in the past. Iím obliged to note some recent disturbing incidents and harassment. For instance, for some time farfetched allegations have been made publicly that questions posed by inspectors were of an intelligence character. While I might not defend every question that inspectors might have asked, Iraq knows that they do not serve intelligence purposes and Iraq should not say so. On a number of occasions, demonstrations have taken place in front of our offices and at inspection sites. The other day, a site-seeing excursion by five inspectors to a mosque was followed by an unwarranted public outburst. Inspectors went without UN insignia and were welcomed in the kind manner that is characteristic of the normal Iraqi attitude to foreigners. They took off their shoes and were taken around. They asked perfectly innocent questions and parted with the invitation to come again.

Shortly thereafter, we received protests from the Iraqi authorities about an unannounced inspection and about questions not relevant to weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, they were not. Demonstrations and outbursts of this kind are unlikely to occur in Iraq with initiative or encouragement from the authorities. We must ask ourselves what the motives may be for these events. They do not facilitate an already difficult job, in which we try to be effective, professional, and at the same time correct. Where our Iraqi counterparties have some complaint, they can take it up in a calmer and less unpleasant manner.

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