The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The substantive cooperation required relates above all to the obligation of Iraq to declare all programmes of weapons of mass destruction and either to present items and activities for elimination or else, to provide evidence supporting the conclusions that nothing proscribed remains. Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441 states that this cooperation shall be... “active”. It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items.

On December 7, 2002, Iraq submitted a declaration of some 12,000 pages in response to paragraph 3 of Resolution 1441, and within the time stipulated by the security council. In the fields of missiles and biotechnology, the declaration contains a good deal of new material and information covering the period from 1998 onward. This is welcome. One might have expected that in preparing the declaration, Iraq would have tried to respond to, clarify and submit supporting evidence regarding the many open disarmament issues which the Iraqi side should be familiar with from the United Nations special commission documents 9994 and the so-called Almarim (ph) report of March 1999. These are questions which the UN monitoring, verification and inspection commission, governments and independent commentators have often cited.

While UNMOVIC has been preparing its own list of current, unresolved disarmament issues and key remaining disarmament tasks in response to requirements in Resolution 1284, we find the issues listed in the two reports I mentioned as unresol- ved, professionally justified.

These reports do not contend that weapons of mass destruction remain in Iraq, but nor do they exclude that possibility. They point to a lack of evidence, which raises questions which must be answered if confidence is to arise. They deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq, rather than being brushed aside as the evil machinations of UNSCOM. Regrettably, the 12,000-page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that will eliminate the questions or reduce their number. Even Iraq’s letter, sent in response to our recent discussions in Baghdad to the president of the security council on January 24, does not resolve these issues.

I shall only give some examples of issues and questions that need to be answered, and I turn first to chemical weapons. The nerve agent, VX, is one of the most toxic ever developed. Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tonnes, and that the quality was poor and the product unstable. Consequently, it was said that the agent was never weaponized. Iraq said that the small quantity of the nerve agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than declared. Indeed, one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared. There are also indications that the agent was weaponized. In addition, there are questions to be answered concerning the fate of the VX’s precursors, which Iraq states were lost during bombing in the Gulf War or were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

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