Peter Willetts, Professor of Global Politics
Documents and Speeches on the Crisis over Iraq
This collection is intended to be a useful archive of important primary materials. The texts of the documents has not been amended, but usually some copy-editing of the lay-out has been done.
Downloaded from www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/SC7534.doc.htm and ../SC7536.doc.htm on 7 November 2002.
RETURN OF UNITED NATIONS INSPECTORS, WITHOUT CONDITIONS, IS KEY TO SOLVING ARMS IMPASSE WITH IRAQ, SECURITY COUNCIL IS TOLD
‘Grave Consequences’ of Military Action Foreshadowed in Day-Long Debate;
The Non-Aligned Movement today urged the Security Council to allow arms inspectors to return to Iraq as soon as possible in order to begin the peaceful resolution of the impasse there, as the Security Council held the first day of an open debate on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.
The meeting was requested by the Non-Aligned Movement. The representative of South Africa, speaking as chairman of its Co-ordinating Bureau, said it would be tragic if the Council were to prejudge the work of the inspectors before they set foot in Iraq. He said he was concerned that elected members of the Council were being excluded from consultations on a possible resolution on Iraq, being negotiated among permanent members.
The situation between Iraq and Kuwait, he said, must be addressed comprehensively by the United Nations, with clear benchmarks for compliance so as to allow the Council to lift sanctions, which had brought endless suffering to the ordinary people. For that to happen, of course, Iraq must also comply with all relevant Council resolutions. But the Non-Aligned Movement firmly rejected any type of unilateral action against any Member State of the United Nations.
Opening today’s debate, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement read on his behalf by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, applauded the holding of an open debate on Iraq. The Secretary-General said that Iraq’s failure to comply fully with the resolutions of the Council posed a great challenge to the Council, but it also presented an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation, the rule of law, and the Organization itself.
The Secretary-General said that Iraq's decision to readmit inspectors without conditions was an important first step, but only a first step. A new resolution strengthening the inspectors’ hand, eliminating any weaknesses or ambiguities, would be appropriate if the Council deemed it necessary.
Iraq’s representative said such action was unnecessary, because no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction were in Iraq. He said his country had implemented the requirements for disarmament of Security Council resolution 687 (1991). In order to end the impasse over the question, however, Iraq had taken the initiative of opening a dialogue with the Secretary-General with the aim of the implementation of Council resolutions in a balanced manner. However, the United States had prevented the Council from participating in finding a comprehensive resolution of the situation. The American Administration, he said, had declared “unabashedly” its intentions to invade Iraq and put its hands on the oil resources. It wanted the Council to give them a blank cheque to occupy Iraq, as a first step in imposing American colonialism on the region and American hegemony on the world.
The representative of Kuwait welcomed the steps taken by Iraq to readmit weapons inspectors. It strongly supported international joint action within the United Nations framework, without which it would not have been liberated from Iraqi occupation in 1991. He hoped the current international momentum would be maintained, to ensure Iraq’s compliance with the full implementation of Security Council resolutions, especially those related to Kuwaiti and third-country detainees held in Iraq. Any use of force against Iraq must be a last resort and only within the United Nations framework.
Most of today’s speakers joined the Non-Aligned Movement in urging the early return of inspectors to Iraq, as a first step in compliance with its obligations, leading to a lifting of sanctions. Many also warned of the grave consequences of any military action in the region.
The representative of the League of Arab States said the Arab League completely rejected the waging of war on any Arab country. It called for a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction, and welcomed resumed inspections in Iraq. He asked why the Security Council did not pressure Israel in the same way or, for that matter, make it abide by the numerous resolutions addressed to it.
While agreeing with the importance of resumed inspections, the representative of Australia warned that an Iraqi Government, which had shown no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction in the past, might soon be able to threaten its neighbours and the world with a full suite of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The said the Council should pass a “new and robust” resolution that provided the strongest possible basis for unconditional and unfettered inspections.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Japan, Tunisia, Iran, Ukraine, Libya, Thailand, Chile, Indonesia, Denmark (for the European Union), Turkey, New Zealand, Argentina, Oman, Nigeria, Canada, Cuba, Sudan and Senegal.
Today's meeting began at 10:10 a.m., was suspended at 1:05 p.m., resumed at 3:09 p.m., and was suspended for the evening at 6:05 p.m. It is set to resume at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 17 October.
As the Security Council met this morning to consider the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, it had before it a letter dated 10 October from the Permanent Representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (document S/2002/1132), addressed to the President of the Security Council requesting the Council to convene an emergency open debate on the situation in Iraq, noting that consultations are currently under way on a possible new resolution on Iraq.
The representative of South Africa writes that the proposed elements of such a resolution include issues that are of importance to the entire membership of the United Nations and the future role of the Organization in the maintenance of international peace and security.
In that letter, the representative of South Africa, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, refers to his letter of 3 October (document S/2002/1108), in which he noted the agreement reached in Vienna on 1 October between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) on the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections in Iraq. He wrote that assurances given by the Government of Iraq that unrestricted access would be granted to the United Nations inspectors, as well as the submission of the outstanding semi-annual monitoring declarations, were welcomed by the Non-Aligned Movement as further steps towards full compliance by Iraq with the relevant Council resolutions.
He wrote further that the timetable that had been presented to the Council by Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, on 29 September was welcome, and that the Movement supported the Council’s efforts to explore all peaceful means to resolve the situation in Iraq and to avoid a war that would cause further suffering to the people of Iraq and the region.
In a letter dated 16 September to the President of the Council (document S/2002/1034), the Secretary-General informed the Council that the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Naji Sabri, had indicated in a letter to him that Iraq's Government had decided to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions, and was ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections.
The Secretary-General wrote that that decision was the indispensable first step towards an assurance that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction and, equally important, towards a comprehensive solution that includes the suspension and eventual ending of the sanctions that are causing such hardship for the Iraqi people and the timely implementation of other provisions of the relevant Council resolutions.
Background on UNMOVIC
The UNMOVIC was created through the adoption of Council resolution 1284 (1999) to replace the former United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) (see below) and continue with the latter’s mandate to disarm Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons and missiles with a range of more than 150 kilometres, and to operate a system of ongoing monitoring and verification to check Iraq's obligations not to reacquire the same weapons, as prohibited to it by the Council.
Hans Blix (Sweden) was appointed by the Secretary-General as the Executive Chairman. The Secretary-General also appointed 16 individuals to serve on UNMOVIC’s College of Commissioners, which provides advice and guidance to the Chairman. The Commission’s staff are selected on the basis of securing the highest standard of efficiency, competence and integrity, taking into consideration the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The staff include weapons specialists, analysts, scientists, engineers and operational planners.
The Commission is financed from a small portion of the monies raised from the export of oil from Iraq (the "oil-for-food" programme, see below). Unlike its predecessor, UNMOVIC staff are United Nations employees. In addition to the Office of the Chairman with executive, legal and liaison functions, UNMOVIC comprises four divisions (Planning and Operations, Analysis and Assessment, Information, Technical Support and Training), as well as an administrative service. The organization plan and structure chart of the Commission are available in document S/2000/292. The Executive Chairman is required to report to the Council on the activities of UNMOVIC every three months after consulting with the College of Commissioners.
Background on UNSCOM
The UNSCOM was established by Council resolution 687 of 3 April 1991, section C, of which it decided that Iraq should unconditionally accept, under international supervision, the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles with a range over 150 kilometres, and related production facilities and equipment. It also provided for a system of ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq’s compliance with the ban on those weapons and missiles. On 6 April that year, Iraq accepted the resolution.
Council resolution 699 (1991) confirmed that UNSCOM and the IAEA had a continuing authority to conduct activities under resolution 687 (1991). Council resolution 715 (1991) approved the plans for ongoing monitoring and verification submitted by the Secretary-General and the Director General of the IAEA. The Commission’s plan also established that Iraq should "accept unconditionally the inspectors and all other personnel designated by the Special Commission".
On 5 August 1998, the Revolutionary Command Council and the Ba'ath Party Command decided to halt cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, pending Council agreement to lift the oil embargo, reorganize the Commission and move it to either Geneva or Vienna. Council resolution 1194 (1998) unanimously condemned Iraq’s decision to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM. On 31 October 1998, Iraq announced that it would cease all forms of interaction with UNSCOM and its Chairman and halt all UNSCOM's activities inside Iraq, including monitoring. On 16 December 1998, the Special Commission withdrew its staff from Iraq. On 17 December 1999, the Council, by its resolution 1284, replaced UNSCOM by UNMOVIC.
IAEA Iraq Action Team
The IAEA Iraq Action Team carries out nuclear inspections in Iraq pursuant to Council resolutions, and maintains an Ongoing Monitoring and Verification (OMV) system. It conducts its work with the assistance and cooperation of UNMOVIC.
The Office of the Iraq Programme was established in October 1997 to implement the “oil-for-food” programme for Iraq established by Council resolution 986 (1995) and subsequent resolutions. In August 1990, the Council had imposed comprehensive sanctions on Iraq by its resolution 661 (1990).
Concerned about the extended suffering of the civilian population as a result of those sanctions, the Council adopted resolution 986 in April 1995 with an oil-for-food formula as "a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people". In May 1996, after extended negotiations with the United Nations Secretariat, Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding setting out arrangements for the resolution’s implementation.
On 14 May 2002, the Council modified the sanctions on Iraq through the adoption of resolution 1409 (2002), which contained a revised Goods Review List and procedures for its application.
Council resolution 689 (1991) established the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) to monitor the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between Iraq and Kuwait, as well as the Khawr'Abd Allah waterway, in order to deter violations of the boundary and to observe any hostile action mounted from the territory of one State against the other. According to the resolution’s mandate, UNIKOM does not have the authority or the capacity to take physical action to prevent the entry of military personnel or equipment into the DMZ. Responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in the DMZ rests with the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait, which maintain police posts in their respective parts of the zone.
By resolution 806 (1993), UNIKOM’s mandate was extended to include the capacity to take physical action to prevent or redress: small-scale violations of the DMZ, violations of the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait; and problems that might arise from the presence of Iraqi installations and Iraqi citizens in the DMZ on the Kuwaiti side of the boundary.
The overall situation in the DMZ has remained generally calm, although there were periods of tension in November 1993 and October 1994. Otherwise, there were only a limited number of incidents and violations of the DMZ, involving mainly overflights by military aircraft and the carrying or firing of weapons other than side arms. The UNIKOM has received the cooperation of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities.
Opening the Council’s debate, Deputy Secretary-General LOUISE FRECHETTE speaking on behalf of KOFI ANNAN, who is this week fulfilling a commitment to visit a number of Member States in Asia welcomed the holding of an open discussion on Iraq. She noted that the Secretary-General had said that Iraq’s failure to comply fully with the resolutions of the Security Council since 1991 posed a great challenge to the Council. It also presented an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation, the rule of law, and the Organization itself.
She said the Secretary-General’s views on the matter, delivered on 12 September before the General Assembly, were that efforts to obtain Iraq’s compliance with the Council must continue. He had appealed to all who might have influence with Iraq’s leaders to impress on them the importance of accepting weapons inspections. And he urged Iraq to comply with its obligations for the sake of its own people and for the sake of world order.
Since then, she said, on behalf of the Secretary-General, Iraq’s decision to readmit inspectors without conditions was an important first step, but only a first step. Iraq must comply fully, implementing the disarmament programme required by Council resolutions. Inspectors must have unfettered access. If the Council passed a new resolution strengthening the inspectors’ hand, eliminating any weaknesses or ambiguities would be appropriate. If Iraq continued its defiance, the Council would have to face its responsibilities, which it did best when working in unison. The objective must be a comprehensive solution, which included the suspension and eventual ending of the sanctions that were causing hardship for the Iraqi people, as well as timely implementation of other provisions of the Council’s resolutions.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa), speaking also as Chairman of the Co-ordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the situation between Iraq and Kuwait must be addressed comprehensively by the United Nations, so as to allow the Council to lift sanctions against Iraq.
Iraq should comply with relevant Council resolutions. He welcomed the announcement by the Government of Iraq that it would allow the United Nations weapons inspectors to return without any conditions. He said he believed that offered the prospect for a peaceful resolution of the matter. He urged the Council to allow inspectors to return to Iraq as soon as possible. It would be tragic if the Council were to prejudge the work of the inspectors before they set foot in Iraq. He said Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement had reiterated firm rejection of any type of unilateral actions against any Member State.
On a possible resolution on Iraq, he said significant consultations were limited to the permanent members of the Council. He was concerned that elected members were excluded from consultations on the most pressing issues before the Council, which could only lead to erosion of the Council’s authority and legitimacy. He said the Council should ensure that there was consistency in the way it acted to enforce its own decisions and avoid subjectivity and vagueness in its resolutions. The Council should also set clear implementable benchmarks for compliance. In Iraq, 11 years of sanction had brought endless suffering to the ordinary people. He hoped the Council would dispatch inspectors to Iraq as soon as possible, to allow the people of Iraq to focus their attention on rebuilding their country.
MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said the United States administration had declared “unabashedly” its intentions to invade Iraq and put its hands on the oil resources. The United States wanted the Council to give them a blank cheque to occupy Iraq and violate the region as part of a plan to subject the entire world to American hegemony.
He said no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction were in Iraq, and his country had implemented the requirements for disarmament of Security Council resolution 687 (1991). That had been recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which had declared it no longer had pending matters in Iraq, as well by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), which had declared that Iraq had implemented 95 per cent of its obligations in 1993.
In 1998, he went on, the inspectors had not left because Iraq had asked them to, but at the request of the United States, which had started a bombing campaign the day after the inspectors departed.
He said the embargo since 1991 continued to be a blatant violation of numerous provisions of the United Nations Charter, including Article 24 and paragraph 2 of Article 1. There were also matters of human rights violations involved. The sanctions had caused a humanitarian catastrophe, a crime that could be considered a genocide. Parallel to the embargo, the United States and the United Kingdom had also declared two no-fly zones in Iraq, in blatant violation of the Charter, and established rules of international law, as well as of the resolution that had established the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq.
In order to end the impasse, he said, Iraq had taken the initiative of opening a dialogue with the Secretary-General with the aim of implementing Council resolutions in a balanced manner. However, the United States had prevented the Council from participating in finding a comprehensive resolution of the situation between the United Nations and Iraq. Iraq had, on 1 October, held talks with UNMOVIC and the IAEA on practical arrangements for return of inspectors. Yet, the United States tried to hamper such agreements, calling for the imposition of unfair conditions on Iraq, which were an insult to the United Nations and international law.
He called upon the international community to express its objection to the aggressive purposes of the United States against Iraq. There would be many victims if the United States hegemonistic tendency was not stopped. The attempt by the United States to make the Council adopt a new resolution establishing conditions which were impossible to comply with was aimed at establishing a pretext to start aggression on Iraq, which would be a first step to impose American colonialism in the region.
MOHAMMAD A. ABULHASAN (Kuwait) said that his country strongly supported international joint action within the United Nations framework. Without such a framework, Kuwait would not have been liberated from Iraqi occupation in 1991. He hoped the current international momentum would be maintained, in order to ensure Iraq’s compliance with the full implementation of all Security Council resolutions. He welcomed steps taken by Iraq to readmit weapons inspectors. An effective inspection process within the requirements set by UNMOVIC was the only yardstick for evaluating its seriousness in that matter.
To avoid further suffering by the people of Iraq, any use of force must be a last resort and only within the United Nations framework. The Secretary-General’s concept of diplomacy supported by force should now be revalidated. But Iraq must fulfil all its obligations, and the Council must also focus its attention on those related to Kuwaiti and third-country detainees held in Iraq. He demanded that Iraq cooperate with the Tripartite Commission in a business-like manner; it must cast aside its worn-out justifications for not doing so.
ABDULLAH ALSAIDI (Yemen) said a discussion of the parameters of military action was not a fruitful approach for the region, which hoped to end of outside intervention which was represented by Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. He said Iraq’s agreement to allow inspectors back was welcome, and showed that many peaceful ways to resolve the situation could be found if the option of war were renounced. Pre-emptive strikes would open a very dangerous door and Yemen rejected such an option. He urged all parties to demonstrate cooperation and allow the United Nations weapons inspectors to begin their work, along with the simultaneous fulfilment of all other obligations of relevant Security Council resolutions.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) supported the steps advocated by the Secretary-General in resolving the matter at hand. He said that in agreeing to the unconditional return of United Nations inspectors, Iraq had shown realism, wisdom and responsibility. He hoped that it would lead to closure in the matter and a lifting of the sanctions on the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, the positive developments had not lessened the threat of armed conflict, which would have grave consequences on the people of Iraq and for the region, as well as on the Middle East peace process, which was sorely tested by Israeli intransigence. In the face of that intransigence, the Security Council must be firm, consistent and fair in seeking compliance with all of its resolutions. Only if it were certain that UNMOVIC inspectors had been prevented from doing their job should the Council pass a resolution to deal with that eventuality.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said that while his country urged Iraq to work seriously towards full implementation of all Security Council resolutions, it also stressed the need for integrity and professionalism in future inspection activities to be undertaken by UNMOVIC. It was essential that UNMOVIC activities were geared towards prompt fulfilment of the tasks entrusted to it, in an atmosphere of constructive cooperation, to ensure the destruction of prohibited weapons of mass destruction, if their existence was ascertained.
In that context, he said, the Security Council had to remain fully aware that the efforts to destroy and render harmless the proscribed capabilities of Iraq constituted the broader objective of the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and missiles for their delivery. Such efforts, he went on, had to be undertaken within the framework of a comprehensive approach by the Council that would lead to progress towards lifting the sanctions, while ensuring full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the implementation of Security Council resolutions was essential to United Nations credibility. Pakistan urged Iraq to cooperate with the Council and with concerned countries and international agencies in the implementation of Council resolutions. Those resolutions, however, should be implemented through measures that were consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and international law. Most of the resolutions regarding Iraq had been adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter and, therefore, contained the implication that enforcement action could be taken to secure compliance with United Nations resolutions. Enforcement action, however, must remain an option of last resort and not be a policy of first choice. Article 42 of the Charter did not provide authority to one or more Member States to resort to force unilaterally.
Challenged to secure the enforcement of its own resolutions, he said, the Security Council was faced with a grave responsibility. It must make sure that all possibilities for the peaceful resolution of the problem had been visibly exhausted. Note should be taken of Iraq's declaration to comply with its obligations under Council resolutions. While Pakistan supported the full implementation of Council resolutions, he went on, it also had several concerns, including that international and regional peace and security be strengthened and not destabilized; that Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity be respected; and that the suffering of the Iraqi people be ameliorated and not exacerbated, including through the early lifting of United Nations sanctions.
While Pakistan was confident that the United Nations would successfully respond to the challenge to establish its relevance and credibility, that was essential not only in the case of Iraq but also in other instances where Council resolutions were not implemented. Global order could be preserved only if the great Powers possessed the wisdom to respect international law and United Nations principles.
ABDULAZIZ BIN NASSER AL SHAMSI (United Arab Emirates) said he was deeply concerned about the danger of escalation leading to a third war in the region, and called upon the international community to promote a preventive diplomatic policy to avoid that occurring. The Security Council should urgently and unconditionally respond to the positive initiative of Iraq to allow inspectors to visit. Iraq’s concerns about repetition of UNSCOM’s mistakes should be taken into consideration, as a first step towards Iraq’s full commitment to its legal obligations. He said there was need, among other things, to ensure implementation of all Council resolutions, which called for the respect of sovereignty of Iraq and its territorial security and integrity. All forms of escalation and confrontation that would lead to a military strike against Iraq must be avoided.
He said the Iraqi Government should urgently implement its obligations under Council resolutions and the resolutions from Arab League summit meetings. There must also be a positive response to calls for lifting of sanctions, and to ensure that article 14 of resolution 687 (1991) applied to all countries of the region. That would require the international community to call upon the Government of Israel to destroy its arsenal of nuclear weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction, and to subject all its nuclear facilities to the safeguards of the IAEA.
ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan) said it was the Council’s responsibility to use all possible and reasonable means to resolve the Iraq issue, and to settle it through continuous negotiations. Implementation of Council resolutions was an obligation on all States, whether they were adopted on Iraq or on the occupied Palestinian territories. A peaceful exit of the current crisis required Iraq to fully implement relevant Council resolutions. He hoped the resumption of inspections would be the right step towards a comprehensive solution towards such implementation, including those related to Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti prisoners of war and missing persons. That, in turn, must lead to an end of the long-lasting suffering of the Iraqi people. He appealed to all States to adhere to its obligations to act within the framework of the Council, its relevant resolutions and international law.
KOICHI HARAGUCHI (Japan) said that it was most important that immediate, unconditional and unrestricted inspections be actually conducted in Iraq; that Iraq comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions, and that there be no doubt whatsoever about the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction. For that to happen, the international community must be unified and resolute, putting maximum pressure on the Iraqi Government.
Member States should pursue ways to address the issue through the United Nations and, in turn, the Organization must function effectively. He supported strengthening the inspection regimes under the steady approach of Hans Blix, and would continue to cooperate with the activities of UNMOVIC under his leadership.
He stressed the importance of paying attention to the stability of the region. With all that in mind, he hoped the Security Council would adopt a resolution that was both necessary and appropriate.
NOUREDDINE MEJDOUB (Tunisia) said war against Iraq was useless because the motives were not well founded. The United Nations inspectors had been expected in Baghdad since 17 September. A formal agreement had been signed between Hans Blix, the IAEA and an Iraqi delegation at an October meeting in Vienna. It was unacceptable to recommend automatic military recourse in anticipation of the outcome of inspections, especially when it had not been established that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
A war in Iraq would not be useful from an Arab perspective; the Beirut summit in March had unanimously and firmly opposed all military action against Iraq, demanding respect for Iraq's sovereignty, and considering any threat to the security and integrity of one Arab State as a threat to the national security of them all. War, he said, would unleash a chain of reactions and counter-reactions in Iraq and the region, giving extremists a pretext for expanding it even further. It would risk undermining the fight against terrorism and would be an affront to the Arab world.
He said the “warmongering hysteria” must stop. Multilateralism must be rebuilt and trust placed in common sense. The belligerent dimension of a unilateral approach to settling international disputes should be avoided. An act of force could defeat the United Nations Charter principles. The Council must remain vigilant against offering a "legal cover" for unilateral tendencies that could set dangerous precedents if transposed to other tense conflicts. All diplomatic channels must be exhausted in the search for a peaceful solution on Iraq.
When the Council resumed its debate this afternoon, JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said any arbitrary, unilateral action outside international law against Iraq would be short-sighted and could endanger the fragile international security system, setting a destructive precedent with far-reaching consequences. He said the concept of regime change ran counter to the Iraqi people's right to self-determination and the notion of pre-emptive strike distorted the conventional understanding of self-defence. Any consideration given to unilateral action could arouse suspicion of a hidden agenda beyond disarming Iraq, further exacerbating and complicating the tense situation in the Middle East.
He said Iran favoured the complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction in the region. Iraq's decision to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors was a step in the right direction. He favoured diplomacy over military action to further persuade Iraq to fully implement all Security Council resolutions, calling for complete disarmament, the release of prisoners of war, and an end to the practice of harbouring terrorists. Attacking Iraq, with enormous suffering to the Iraqi people, would fuel further resentment everywhere and sow seeds of new hatred that would feed instability for years to come
The Security Council, he said, was in a position to adopt new and realistic procedures to ensure smooth and full implementation of the disarmament process. A unified Council was vital for reaching a viable and lasting solution. He called for weapons inspectors to be able to enter Iraq "hassle-free", and to begin work as soon as possible. The final, peaceful resolution of this crisis would strengthen the international rule of law and demonstrate the ability of the United Nations and multilateral diplomacy to defuse disputes and crises.
VALERIY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine) said the agreement reached between Iraq, UNMOVIC and the IAEA on practical arrangements for the resumption of international inspections, and Iraq’s assurances that unrestricted access to all sites would be granted, was the next step towards full compliance by Iraq with relevant Council resolutions. He called upon the inspectors to return to Iraq as a matter of urgency, and on Iraq to provide all necessary conditions for their work.
The results of the inspections should play the definitive role in elaborating further steps of the United Nations, he said. He called on Iraq to strictly adhere to its commitments under all Council resolutions, especially regarding disarmament obligations. He said he favoured continuing efforts in exploring all peaceful means to resolve the situation and to avoid a war that would cause further suffering, first of all to the people of Iraq.
ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said the matter under consideration was not between Iraq and Kuwait, but between the United States and Iraq indeed, between the United States and the region as a whole. Iraq had informed the Secretariat that it was open for inspections. However, those who were calling for the resumption of the inspectors were the ones trying to prevent them from resuming their work. Those responsible for maintenance of peace and security were calling for war, and those accused of threatening peace and security were calling for dialogue.
He said the solution lay in the prompt resumption of the inspectors’ works. Weapons of mass destruction must be destroyed, not only in Iraq, but everywhere. The permanent members of the Council had a draft resolution that was not a cause for optimism. He called upon the Council not to adopt any resolution that would demean the dignity of the Iraqi people or violate their human rights nor should a resolution include anything imposed by political or economic pressure. There was no need for a further resolution. The Council should call for the prompt return of inspectors and not look for a pretext to attack Iraq.
YAHYA MAHMASSANI, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, said that following Iraq’s statements and agreements for the return of inspectors, Iraq had declared it was free of all weapons of mass destruction and had agreed to the return of inspectors. There was no reason to delay that return or to prejudge the results.
He said that in March, in Beirut, the Arab League had completely rejected the waging of war on any Arab country. It also requested that the entire Middle East region be free of nuclear weapons, or any other weapons of mass destruction. He asked why the Security Council did not pressure Israel to disarm in that way or, for that matter, to abide by the numerous resolutions related to it. With the anger resulting from that double standard, a new war in the Middle East would begin a conflagration that would be very difficult to control, annulling the current world order along with the United Nations charter.
CHUCHAI KASEMSARN (Thailand) said multilateralism and multilateral institutions remained humankind’s best hope for the maintenance of international peace and security. The United Nations remained the most appropriate framework for the peaceful resolution of crises through diplomatic means. To prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and to pave the way for their elimination, the multilateral regime must be upheld by all. He strongly urged Iraq to comply with all relevant Council resolutions unconditionally, including immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access for United Nations inspectors. The present escalation of tensions, if allowed to continue, could only do more harm than good and would have dire consequences on the global economy. Furthermore, one of the dreadful consequences of military action was its devastating impact on innocent people and children.
JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said his country was convinced that Iraq’s ambition to acquire weapons of mass destruction remained undiminished, and it had made continuing attempts to procure equipment, material and technologies for its programme for such weapons. The Security Council had a profound responsibility to ensure that the international community’s recent pressure on Iraq did not go to waste. He urged the Council to pass a “new and robust” resolution which provided the strongest possible basis for unconditional and unfettered inspections in Iraq. It was only through such inspections that the international community could be completely satisfied that Iraq no longer posed a threat to international security, and this almost 12-year-long saga could be brought to an end.
He said the United Nations had been patient and had worked hard to satisfy Iraq’s concerns over the previous inspection body, the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), by designing a new and more streamlined inspection body, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). The risks presented by inaction were real, he said. One such risk was that an Iraqi Government, which had shown no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction in the past, would once again be able to threaten its neighbours and the world, but this time with a full suite of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) said the main reasons for the Security Council’s debate were, first, the repeated and contemptuous disregard for the Council’s resolutions by Iraq over its development of weapons of mass destruction, and, second, was for the Council to determine the implementation of Iraq’s disarmament. Blatant disregard for the United Nations decisions, he noted, led not to its irrelevancy of the Organization but to international chaos. For that reason, Chile had welcomed the decision of the United States to deal with the crisis within the framework of the United Nations.
Additionally, it also welcomed Iraq’s decision to permit the return of United Nations weapons inspectors without conditions. But in order to achieve compliance with the resolutions of the Council, UNMOVIC had to operate without obstruction of any kind, he said. For it to work effectively, the Council must focus its attention on adopting another resolution as early as possible, specifying UNMOVIC’s functions and duties in greater detail.
MOCHAMAD S. HIDAYAT (Indonesia) called on the Council to continue to seek a peaceful resolution, urging it to deploy its considerable influence to persuade all parties that the road to peace, not the route to war, was in the best interest of all. War must be employed only as a last resort, not as the next item on the agenda. Indonesia had consistently appealed to the Iraqi leadership to comply with relevant resolutions, including those relating to the destruction and renunciation of weapons of mass destruction. His Government had welcomed Iraq’s decision to allow the return of United Nations inspectors to their country without conditions. Since Iraq had indicated its readiness to implement previous Council resolutions and commitments, that critical situation could be resolved peacefully.
He said that Iraq had suffered long enough; it would be unfortunate for it to have to face another war that would further set back its economy and its people. Now that Iraq had agreed to allow the return of inspectors, the door has been reopened to peace. Despite the sabre rattling, there was a "very good" chance to avoid military action and win back both regional and global peace. The situation in Iraq should not be viewed in isolation. It was crucial to see the bigger picture of the Middle East, with particular attention to the situation in Palestine, as well as in the context of the challenge of terrorism.
ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark), for the European Union and associated countries, said that she respected the political integrity of Iraq. Its new-found willingness to readmit weapons inspectors should now be put to the test, and complete disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, achieved. She reiterated the Union’s demand that Iraq adhere fully to all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and supported a new Security Council resolution strengthening the inspection regime.
Iraq, she said, must fully accommodate those inspectors in carrying out their mandate, or be held accountable for its failure to do so. The Union emphasized the crucial role of the Security Council in all matters of peace and security. In accordance with the United Nations Charter, its Members should take a speedy decision, with the widest possible support, that maintained strong pressure on Iraq.
UMIT PAMIR (Turkey), aligning himself with the statement made by Denmark on behalf of the European Union, said that for 12 years the Iraqi people had suffered the debilitating and unintended effects of measures taken under Chapter VII of the Charter. Throughout those years, Turkey had received “a raw deal”. From northern Iraq, a safe haven for terrorists, operations had been conducted against his country, and its trading routes had been disrupted. Now that Iraq had decided to allow the return of inspectors unconditionally, he hoped the international community would choose to test the veracity of that position. The Iraqi Government should adhere fully to all relevant resolutions without trying to set forth any preconditions. A new draft resolution should help it to do precisely that.
He said the ongoing quest for a new resolution stemmed from the need to show the world that the means at the disposal of the Council for the pacific disposal of the matter were truly exhausted. He hoped such a text would empower the inspectors with an effective mandate and incorporate clear provisions for cases of both compliance and non-compliance. He said no military action had brought a lasting and viable solution in the Middle East. The destiny of the Iraqi people lay solely in the hands of the Iraqis as a whole. In that context, the single, most important principle was to maintain Iraq’s territorial integrity and national unity.
DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said Iraq had consistently ignored Council demands for inspection of weapons of mass destruction. It had used chemical weapons against its neighbours and against its own people, and it had possessed biological weapons. There were "strong grounds" to suspect that it had sought the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Iraq had been in breach of international disarmament treaties to which it was a party. Without inspection, the Council could not be sure that Iraq did not possess those weapons and had no intention to develop them. When the Iraqi Government signed the Gulf War ceasefire agreement in 1991, it unconditionally accepted the terms of Council resolution 687 (1991) requiring the "destruction and removal, under international supervision", of all its mass destruction weapons. Since then, Iraq had consistently violated those commitments.
He said that if Iraq failed to fulfil its obligations, he expected the Council to take firm action. As a first step, it was essential that weapons inspectors were immediately readmitted so that the Council could effectively assess the state, nature and extent of Iraq’s weapons programme. That required full cooperation and unrestricted access by Iraq, with clear rules governing compliance. Should Iraq not comply with its obligations, any further action should come back to the Council for consideration, which must remain the arbiter of Iraq’s compliance. In the event of non-compliance, "the use of force is clearly not beyond the Council’s contemplation". Attendant risks, including instability in the region and beyond, might be alleviated if the Council provided a united front, so that any action was clearly seen to be taken on behalf of the international community.
ARNOLDO M. LISTRE (Argentina) said the Government of Iraq must fully comply with the obligations of Council resolution 687 (1991). The situation where Iraq had not complied with Council resolutions for the last 11 years was unacceptable. It was essential that inspectors enjoy immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all sites, including “sensitive” and “presidential” sites. The Council must adopt new measures strengthening the inspectors’ mandate and establishing consequences in the case of a new failure to comply. He hoped a peaceful solution was still possible. He also hoped that full compliance by Iraq with its obligations would allow for the eventual and gradual lifting of sanctions. If all negotiating mechanisms were exhausted, force must be exercised with caution and moderation. The use of force, a last resort, must be legitimate and authorized by the Council.
FUAD MUBARAK AL-HINAI (Oman) said Iraq’s decision to allow international inspectors to return had been a result of concerted regional and international efforts to spare Iraq and the region of war. He hoped the Council would approve the immediate return of UNMOVIC. There was no need to adopt a resolution approving automatically a military strike. He called on Iraq to resume its cooperation with the Tripartite Committee and to close the humanitarian file relating to Kuwaiti prisoners of war and third-country missing persons, and the return of Kuwaiti property. He also called on the Council to end the suffering of the Iraqi people, to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to explore every peaceful and diplomatic means to achieve implementation of all relevant Council resolutions.
ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria) said the United Nations had made tremendous progress over the years in disarming Iraq and destroying most of its weapons programmes. Iraq must comply with all of its obligations under the relevant resolutions, in order for the sanctions to be lifted. Meanwhile, Nigeria had always supported relief measures such as the “oil-for-food” programme, in order to cushion the effects of the sanctions.
Today, the international community was at the threshold of another crucial decision on Iraq. The way it addressed that situation would have far-reaching implications for multilateralism and the ability of the United Nations to promote world peace, security and development of the whole world, and not just part of it. He said disarmament was "unfinished business" in Iraq, which had not fulfilled all of its obligations. Its continued breach of Council resolutions undermined the legitimacy of the Organization. Iraq must seize the moment to demonstrate its peaceful intentions and its respect for the United Nations Charter and international law.
In the regrettable event that Iraq failed to comply, it would be legitimate, and indeed justifiable, for the Council to review the situation and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance. The international community had previously demonstrated its ability to act with resolve through the Council. He was confident it would rise to the occasion in the case of Iraq. All Member States should work to protect the credibility and integrity of the Organization lest, by default, actions were set in motion that could weaken it and deter it from its critical role of maintaining international peace and security.
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said that a long series of resolutions dealing with the international and legal obligations of Iraq had been adopted in this Chamber. It was, and remained, the responsibility of the Iraqi Government to fulfil its obligations, as determined by the Council in the interest of maintaining international peace and security. Many governments, including his own, had already delivered directly to the Iraqi authorities the clear message that they must accept the immediate return of inspectors and work with UNMOVIC and the IAEA openly and unconditionally. That meant full cooperation and prompt and unfettered access to all sites that those decided to see, including sensitive and presidential sites. Canada, therefore, welcomed Iraq’s decision to accept the inspectors’ return.
He said it was an essential first step, but as the ceasefire provisions had made clear, the return of weapons inspections was not the end, but the means. The end, as set out by the Council, was the destruction of all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and the end of all Iraqi programmes to develop them. Regrettably, given the record of the past 11 years, world opinion had become sceptical of Iraqi assurances. It had seen too much evasion, obstruction and misinformation to rely on anything other than the judgements of the weapons inspectors. That was why Canada fully supported current efforts to seek a new and unambiguous message to Iraq, which should spell out in clear and unequivocal terms what was required of Iraq. Equally, it must leave no doubt that Iraq would face serious consequences if it failed, once again, to fully comply.
BRUNO RODRIGUE PARRILLA (CUBA) said that, despite the widespread opposition to war against Iraq, a draft resolution that would make such a war unavoidable was being promoted in the Security Council. What was needed, however, was that inspectors restart their work without further delay, thus, implementing existing resolutions towards a comprehensive peace and stability for the region, including the lifting of sanctions that caused so much suffering for the Iraqi people.
He said the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, Kuwait and all the countries of the region should be respected. General disarmament was the only possible way to peace.
In recent weeks, secret meetings had been taking place among some members of the Council. Non-permanent members were being excluded. Cuba, however, hoped that inclusive dialogue and negotiation would prevail and that the Security Council would act in accordance with its responsibilities. Otherwise, the damage to the international order and collective security would be irreparable.
ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said the Council should broaden the scope of ongoing consultations to include all members beyond the permanent five, with full respect for the Charter and for transparency. The Sudan had welcomed the decision of Iraq to readmit inspectors, hoping it would begin the resolution of all outstanding issues on the problem, in accordance with international law. The Security Council had not been able to enforce such law in relation to Israel, which also had been developing weapons of mass destruction that threatened the region.
He said a peaceful resolution of all conflicts was necessary, and time must be allowed for the inspectors to fulfil their mandates in Iraq. The present situation did not call for any new resolutions, and the Sudan did not expect the Security Council, under any circumstances, to “unleash the dogs of war”.
PAPA LOUIS FALL (Senegal) emphasized Iraq’s obligation to comply unconditionally with all relevant Council resolutions and the need for concerted international action, legitimized by the Council, in case of Iraq’s non-compliance. He said the exclusive responsibility for the fact that sanctions had not been lifted lay with Iraq’s non-compliance with relevant Council resolutions.
He emphasized the need for Iraq to respond to requests to free Kuwaiti prisoners of war and third-country persons, and to return Kuwaiti property and archives. Iraq must comply scrupulously with the conditions of the agreements reached regarding the return of inspectors, he said. Council resolutions were binding on all Member States, including those who had defied Council resolutions for 35 years and had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Ways must be found to find a peaceful diplomatic resolution based on the rule of international law and Council resolutions.
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IN SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE, UNITED STATES, FRANCE, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, OTHERS OUTLINE POSITIONS ON POSSIBLE RESOLUTION CONCERNING IRAQ
At the end of a two-day, four-session open meeting, the 15 Security Council members addressed the situation between Iraq and Kuwait after having heard the opinions of 54 speakers regarding the return of inspectors to Iraq, a new resolution on the subject and the use of force against Iraq because of its non-compliance with Council resolutions.
The representative of the United States said there could not be any more toothless resolutions for Iraq to continue to ignore. The Council should stand firm, resolute and united in adopting a resolution that held Iraq to its commitments, that laid out clearly what Iraq must do to comply and which stated that there would be consequences if Iraq refused to comply. He hoped it would comply; if not, compliance would be sought by other means.
Over the past weeks, a consensus had been forming in the Council that the time for denial, deception and delay had come to an end, and that Iraq must be verifiably disarmed, he added. The United States was now considering the reactions it had received and would be placing before the Council, in the near future, a resolution with clear and immediate requirements. He hoped the Council would play its proper role as safeguard of the common security. If it failed to do so, then the United States and other States would be forced to act.
France’s representative proposed a two-stage approach. During the first stage, the Council should adopt a resolution clearly specifying the "rules of the game". That resolution should also send a clear warning to Iraq that the Council would not tolerate new violations. During the second stage, if the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observed that Iraq was refusing to cooperate fully with the inspectors, the Council should meet immediately to decide on appropriate measures to take ruling out no alternatives.
He said any automatic decision on the use of force would profoundly divide the Council, and only a united front would convince Iraq not to repeat its error. Fundamental issues were at stake. "Even beyond Iraq", he said, "we are talking about the future of international order, relations between North and South, and notably, our relationship with the Arab world".
The representative of the Russian Federation said the only way of making sure that weapons of mass destruction were eliminated in Iraq was to return inspectors, to which Iraq had agreed. Everything was now in place for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis. No new decisions were needed by the Security Council. The inspectors did not need new decisions; they needed clarity. If achieving such clarity required new resolutions, his delegation would be prepared to work on that. However, the Council could not give its consent to a new resolution for the purpose of the use of force for regime change. The vast majority of the international community had been calling for the return of inspectors and a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. That call could not be ignored.
The President of the Council, Martin Belinga-Eboutou (Cameroon), speaking in his national capacity, noted that during consultations, all Council members had given him clear assurances that they would do nothing against Iraq without explicit approval of the Council.
As during yesterday's debate, non-Council Member States stressed the importance of full and unconditional compliance by Iraq with relevant Council resolutions as well as a speedy return of UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors to Iraq, where they should have unfettered access to all sites. Many endorsed strengthening of the inspectors' mandate. In case of full compliance, sanctions on Iraq could be lifted. Any use of force against Iraq must be a last resort and within the United Nations framework.
Echoing the opinion of Arab States, Lebanon's representative said Israel had weapons of mass destruction and had defied Security Council resolutions. That encouraged the people of the region, and elsewhere, to feel there was a double standard. A single standard should be applied by the Council so that justice prevailed. He supported the view expressed at the Beirut Summit of the Arab League that the question of Iraq must be resolved through dialogue with the United Nations, in order to implement relevant resolutions and lift sanctions. An attack on any Arab State was regarded as an attack on all.
The representative of Israel, answering to allegations of double standards, said different chapters of the Charter were being obscured, as well as the gaping distinctions between Iraq’s repeated flouting of Council resolution, and Israel’s steps, at considerable risk to its own security, to implement the Council’s will. Resolutions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict required reciprocal actions by other parties and could not be compared to Chapter VII resolutions on Iraq, addressing a threat posed by one regime to both the region and the world. Even more significant was Israel’s situation in confronting the daily threat of both terrorist attacks and threats of destruction.
Other Council Members who spoke today included the representatives of Mexico, Syria, United Kingdom, China, Guinea, Norway, Singapore, Ireland, Colombia, Bulgaria and Mauritius.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Morocco, Brazil, Switzerland, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, Viet Nam, Djibouti, Liechtenstein, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Angola, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Albania, Cambodia, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Costa Rica (speaking on behalf of the Rio Group).
The Observer of Palestine also made a statement, as did a representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The representatives of Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and Syria addressed the Council in reply to other statements, as did the Permanent Observer of Palestine.
The meeting, which began yesterday, resumed at 10:14 a.m. today. It was suspended at 1:14 p.m., resumed at 3:10 p.m., and adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
The Security Council today resumed its meeting on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, which began yesterday. [For background information, see Press Release SC/7534 of 16 October.]
MOHAMED BENNOUNA (Morocco) said Council resolutions adopted on Iraq had made the obligations of that country clear before sanctions could be lifted. Notwithstanding difficulties, Iraq had cooperated with the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the last 10 years. Recently, Iraq had reaffirmed its resolve to cooperate unconditionally with inspectors, and there was agreement on the rules of the game. Because Iraq had accepted the return of inspectors, the Council must consider whether existing resolutions were sufficient to allow inspectors to do their job, or whether there was need for a new resolution. It was incumbent, therefore, to await the report of Mr. Blix before taking any other measure.
He said the Arab Summit in Beirut had underlined the need to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity in Iraq, and the need to avoid any military action against it. In order to ensure security and stability in the Middle East, there was a need for the region to be a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The Council must help Iraq to overcome the critical humanitarian situation in the country. The task of the inspectors in accordance with resolutions must be resumed. He hoped the Council would be able to agree to the arrangements for the return of the inspectors to discharge their task.
GELSON FONSECA (Brazil) said he was concern that the international community was being “drawn into the dreadful logic of war”. International action, he said, must be guided by international law; the use of military force was admissible only after all diplomatic alternatives had been exhausted, and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
Iraq must strictly and unconditionally abide by its obligations under Security Council resolutions, and the international community required full and verifiable assurances of that. The Security Council must act in accordance with the international community’s desire that inspections in Iraq be resumed as soon as possible, and should define positive incentives for compliance, as well, leading to the lifting of the sanctions regime. If and when they were needed, further measures of enforcement should be considered by the Council in the light of an evaluation of the findings of the inspections.
JENÖ C.A. STAEHELIN (Switzerland) said the only way to allay serious suspicions brought about by Iraq’s policy of armament was for that country to accept unconditionally the return of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Further, the inspections, when they do come, must be thorough and lead to the effective elimination of any illegal weapons that may be found. However, to achieve those goals, Switzerland believed that all peaceful means had to be exhausted, and the possible use of force should not be considered without taking into account all the possible short-term and long-term consequences in the political, security, humanitarian and economic arenas.
Switzerland was especially concerned about the dangers to the civilian population and the impact that an armed conflict could have on the stability of the entire region. In that regard, he said, he welcomed both President Bush’s willingness to seek a solution to the crisis in the framework of the United Nations Security Council and the Iraqi Government’s announcement that it would conform with the international community’s demands by accepting the weapons inspectors. He noted what he termed “the constructive results” of the recent talks in Vienna and said he favoured a two-stage approach which would permit the Council to assure itself that Iraq had fulfilled its obligations, and to take all necessary measures if that should not be the case.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that, while enforcement of Council resolutions may be necessary, such enforcement actions should be based on international law and backed by the United Nations. The objective of any enforcement action should be the need to enhance security, peace and stability. He welcomed Iraq’s decision to allow the return of weapons inspectors, who should have total and unfettered access. No impediment should be placed on UNMOVIC’s work. Furthermore, Iraq must comply with all relevant Council resolutions. Every possible effort should be made to avert war.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that in light of Iraq’s expressed willingness to resume inspections, the issue before the Council now should not be authorizing use of force against that country, but allowing the United Nations inspection mission to begin its work as expeditiously as possible.
The focus in the Council, he said, should be on diplomacy, not on legitimizing war against Iraq to effect “regime change”, which was an endeavour contrary to the United Nations Charter. At the same time, disarmament efforts must be part of a clear sanctions-lifting plan, and compliance with Council resolutions must be enforced equitably, especially those that concerned Israel, which had ignored many of them with impunity. He said all Council members must be involved in deciding the crucial issue at hand, and in choosing either the path of constructive diplomacy or destructive war.
HOUSSAM ASAAD DIAB (Lebanon) said he supported the view expressed at the Beirut Summit of the Arab League that the question of Iraq must be resolved through dialogue with the United Nations, in order to implement relevant resolutions and lift sanctions. An attack on any Arab State was regarded as an attack on all.
The urgent task now, he said, was the return of the inspectors to make sure that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, said he could accomplish that on the basis of existing resolutions; therefore, no new resolutions were needed at the moment. He said Israel had weapons of mass destruction and had defied Security Council resolutions. That encouraged the people of the region, and elsewhere, to feel there was a double standard. A single standard should be applied by the Council so that justice prevailed.
VIJAY K. NAMBIAR (India) said his country recognized the desire of the international community to see full compliance by Iraq with all relevant United Nations resolutions, including those relating to the repatriation of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and return of all Kuwaiti property. Such a desire, however, could not justify any unilateral action against Iraq, without the agreement of the United Nations. Any undermining of the territorial integrity of Iraq could have unforeseen and destructive geo-political implications, which could extend beyond the region. He said he supported new Council guidelines for weapons inspectors. However, the purpose should be disarmament in Iraq as laid down in relevant resolutions. Some of the proposals, such as the presence of Council members, extraterritorial interviews of Iraqi nationals or the use of United Nations armed guards to accompany inspectors, seemed unprecedented.
He believed that sanctions against Iraq should be lifted in tandem with full and effective compliance by Iraq with relevant Council resolutions. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of a State were inviolable. Any action to limit those attributes could be taken only under the express provision enshrined in Chapter VII of the Charter. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance that all possible options that could help to avoid military action be actively explored under United Nations auspices. There should be no precipitate action that adversely affected the interests of the countries in the region, or those which had vital stakes in the region. The urgent first step was to facilitate the return of inspectors to Iraq.
NGUYEN THANH CHAU (Viet Nam) said whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction could be determined only by experts. Iraq had accepted international weapons inspections without any conditions. Inspectors should, therefore, go back. If the political will was for war, peace would have no chance; but if it was for peace, the Member States should stick to the Charter of the United Nations, giving peace at least a last chance. Any attempt to change a political system of a sovereign State by sheer force of arms was unacceptable, since it constituted a blatant violation of the Charter and of international law. It would create a dangerous precedent in international relations.
ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said all States should be heard on the matter of Iraq, since the Council had a heavy burden of responsibility as the sole entity to ensure Iraq’s compliance with the inspection and disarmament regime. The Council’s choices must be made with moderation and utmost fairness.
He said the current opportunities provided by negotiations between UNMOVIC and Iraq should not be squandered. Iraq needed to ensure good faith towards a lasting resolution of the problem of Kuwaitis missing since 1991. He said he aligned himself with the Arab position of cautioning against the war option, at a time when the international community was mobilized to combat terrorism. The times required the concerted action of the international community, especially to deal with the core problem in the Middle East -– the occupation of Arab lands by Israel.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that it was imperative that the Security Council act with common resolve to enable UNMOVIC to resume the work that the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) was never able to finish. While a new resolution to that end was not strictly needed from a legalistic point of view, it was certainly a political necessity. Clarity of the rules governing compliance was essential.
Military action, he said, should be contemplated only if all other means had failed and Iraq’s non-compliance was clearly established. Such force, in that case, could only be authorized by the Security Council, acting with the broadest possible unity, since the use of armed force would have enormous consequences.
ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said he welcomed the fact that relations between Iraq and Kuwait had normalized. He said the question of Iraq was dominating the international agenda. It would be appropriate to explore all peaceful means to resolve pending issues and to avoid war. The question entailed the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. There were claims that Iraq possessed biological and chemical weapons and would have nuclear weapons in the near future. It was up to the United Nations to conduct inspections to verify the veracity of such statements. His country called for immediate resumption of inspections in Iraq. Any conflict, no matter how complex, could and must be resolved peacefully. He appealed to the international community to do all it could to resolve the Iraq question swiftly and, especially, peacefully.
ISMAEL GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said the choice was between peace and war, and the options were whether or not the international community had a role to play in the resolution of the crisis. He said he condemned any unilateral action by any Member State that threatened international peace and security. It was imperative that Iraq redouble its efforts to fully and immediately implement Council resolutions 687 (1991) and 1284 (1999). He welcomed the progress achieved on the unconditional return of inspectors to Iraq, but stressed that meaningful progress would be registered only when unconditional and unrestricted inspections occurred.
He said all Council resolutions on Iraq remained viable and relevant instruments. Efforts must be directed at their full implementation. Before taking any measures under Chapter VII, the international community, under the auspices of the United Nations, must seek a peaceful solution taking into account that the measures foreseen in Article 42 of the Charter must be of last resort, and only if they represented the collective will of the international community embodied by the Council.
NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, expressing concern at the possibility of a new outbreak of war, said it lead to destruction and suffering in Iraq, with profound negative consequences in the region as a whole, through increased extremism. The present crisis, he said, should be resolved by the earliest return of inspectors.
He said respect for all Council resolutions should be enforced, including those that concerned missing Kuwaitis. However, it would be hard to ensure such respect when Israel consistently flouted them. He said the Council should regain its credibility in such matters.
ALEG IVANOU (Belarus) said the Security Council should support a constructive approach based on Iraq’s recent decision on the resumption of inspections; he did not agree with those who saw the settlement of the Iraqi issue only through the use of force. He said he supported diplomatic means for such a settlement, under the aegis of the United Nations, and he was against any unilateral military action. The Council, he said, should prohibit such military action, which could result in a major international conflict with unforeseen consequences. Belarus also supported step-by-step mitigation of the sanction regime against Iraq, to relieve its humanitarian situation.
FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said bringing peace, security and stability to the world required a more pro-active role for the United Nations. Diplomatic endeavours, at the regional and international levels, were the best means of maintaining international peace and security, over the use of force. A new war would have unforeseen results and lead to destabilization of the region; it might lead to rekindling hatred and violence and to humanitarian catastrophes.
With Iraq’s acceptance of inspectors and assurance of facilitating their work, it would be better to allow the return of inspectors to complete their task and issue a report. Iraq, he went on, should comply with all Council resolutions, including return of Kuwaiti detainees and property, which would lead to lifting of sanctions against Iraq and would preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said Israel’s contempt for international legality and the fact that the United Nations was not keen on implementing resolutions in that situation could not be ignored. An Israeli minister had stated that all Council resolutions should be placed in a trash can. Double standards did not reduce the credibility of the Council, but encouraged other countries to flout resolutions. Resolutions under Chapter VII were binding on the international community, particularly the permanent members of the Council. The Council should take practical steps to ensure implementation of its resolutions.
AGIM NESHO (Albania) said, while the international community was united in the fight to eradicate international terrorism, Iraq continued to be a menace to the international community with the production of weapons of mass destruction. The United States position was the most realistic one. Three years ago, intervention in the Balkan region, in the face of genocide being practised against the Kosovar Albanians, was intended to preserve and guarantee the international system. The “humanitarian” intervention had not only justified itself, but also introduced an important precedent in international relations. Today, a situation was faced where the pre-emptive action of the international community was necessary to avoid a possible world catastrophe, from the use of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrolled regime.
MOKHTAR LAMANI, Permanent Observer, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), recalled that last month the OIC Secretary-General had expressed concern about the severe social and humanitarian toll of the sanctions imposed on Iraq. He had voiced the hope that Iraq would settle its problems with its neighbours, principally the issue of missing Kuwaitis, and with the United Nations.
The Foreign Ministers of the OIC member States had issued a statement welcoming Iraq’s decision on the return of United Nations inspectors as a first step towards a settlement of relations between Iraq and the Security Council in a process that would lead to the lifting of the sanctions. He said the Ministers had called on States to abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter, to refrain from the threat or use of force against Iraq, and to respect its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
It had been repeatedly stated that there should be no double standards when the Council debated the issue of non-compliance with its resolutions, he continued. It was known that some Member States, among which Israel was a clear example, had shown defiance of Council resolutions. Yet no force had been used against those countries. A recent publication had stated that more than 90 Security Council resolutions were being violated by countries other than Iraq.
He said Iraq was taking steps in the right direction. That was shown by its recent decision to allow United Nations inspectors to return without conditions and to facilitate their tasks, and borne out by the positive outcome of meetings held in Vienna between Iraq and the United Nations. The Security Council could, therefore, play its mandated role in maintaining international peace and security. It could spare the region the catastrophes of war and destruction, and alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people that had lasted too long.
OUCH BORITH (Cambodia) said war most be avoided at all costs. Nine resolutions had called for Iraq to allow inspections and the destruction of weapons of mass destruction, as well as for the return of Kuwaiti and third- country prisoners of war and the return of Kuwaiti property. Adequate machinery already existed to deal with the issue. That mechanism should be fully utilized and, if necessary, be strengthened. All avenues must be exhausted and the use of force should be used only as a means of last resort. He strongly urged Iraq to comply with all Council resolutions unconditionally, and in an unfettered manner. Speedy return of weapons inspectors was imperative as a means to alleviate international tensions. Compliance by Iraq should allow sanctions to be lifted as soon as possible.
STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica) said that Council resolutions on Iraq, seeking destruction of weapons of mass destruction and an end to their further development, a solution to questions of Kuwaiti persons and property, must be fully implemented. He said he hoped the negotiations between Iraq and UNMOVIC would accomplish that goal. The prospect of war, with its manifold tragic consequences, should be avoided.
In that light, he said he was concerned over the decision-making process in the Council. The full involvement of elected members was vital for giving legitimacy and authority to the Council’s decisions. The scheme for collective security under the Charter was of great importance for small States and should be strengthened, and the principles of the non-use of force, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the sovereign equality of States should not be undermined by any Council action.
TICHAONA JOSEPH JOKONYA (Zimbabwe) said that resolution 687 (1991) spelled out inspection for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Given Iraq’s agreement to receive inspectors with unfettered access, that resolution should be utilized, and inspectors’ report awaited. Iraq must comply with all resolutions related to it.
At the same time, he said, any action taken by Member States before exhausting dispute settlement by the United Nations would be a total breach of international law. He added that he was concerned that disarmament of weapons of mass destruction was not pursued with the same zeal in relation to other countries. Israel, in particular, must be disarmed. Finally, a solution to the Iraqi issue must quickly bring an end to the sanctions, which had caused much suffering to that people.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) said the Iraqi situation had deteriorated into a threat to international peace and security. International law should be fully respected. The Arab Summit in Beirut had called for full cooperation to solve the problem of Kuwaiti prisoners and third-country parties, and the return of Kuwaiti property. He welcomed the decision of Iraq to accept the return of international inspectors and to resume the dialogue with the United Nations.
He hoped that situation would lead to international détente and that the Council would allow the return of inspectors as soon as possible. As the situation might lead to the destruction of an entire region, a peaceful solution should be the objective of all Members of the Organization on the basis of United Nations resolutions. Double standards should be avoided; resolutions of the Council must also apply to Israel, which had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
CHITHAMBARANATHAN MAHENDRAN (Sri Lanka) said Iraq should fully comply with all relevant Council resolutions and respect its international commitments to avoid further escalation of tensions in the region. Welcoming Iraq’s decision to allow inspectors into the country without any condition, he said the Council might deem it necessary to pass a new resolution to strengthen the inspectors’ hand and to remove any gap that had been present in the 1991 inspection regime. Iraq should cooperate fully with the United Nations in order to make the United Nations an effective instrument in maintaining peace, as stipulated clearly and unambiguously by the Charter.
DURGA BHATTARAI (Nepal) said he was firmly of the view that there was no room for action against Iraq outside the provisions of the United Nations Charter. He said Iraq must comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and assure the world, through convincing action, that it posed no danger to international peace and security. Multilateralism was the only route to such security, while unilateral action undermined international law, creating uncertainty and loss of hope, especially among the weak and vulnerable Members of the Organization.
The Council resumed its debate this afternoon
YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel), responded to the numerous charges made in the course of the debate that the Security Council had adopted a double standard with regard to Israel’s compliance with Council resolutions. There was indeed a double standard, he said, but it was directed against Israel when distinctions were blurred between incomparable situations. Not only were different chapters of the Charter being obscured, but also the gaping distinctions between Iraq’s repeated flouting of Council resolutions, and Israel’s steps, at considerable risk to its own security, to implement the Council’s will.
Resolutions 242 and 338, he said, were the basis of peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and had been accepted as the basis of peacemaking with the Palestinians, including the Oslo accords, which broke off as a result of the Palestinians’ decision to revert to violence. In 2000, the Council endorsed Israel’s compliance with resolution 425, despite which border attacks had been launched against it. Israel had taken significant steps to implement further resolutions, but was stopped by resumed Palestinian violence and non-compliance with other obligations.
Resolutions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict required reciprocal actions by other parties and could not be compared to Chapter VII resolutions on Iraq, addressing a threat posed by one regime to both the region and the world. Even more significant was Israel’s situation in confronting the daily threat of both terrorist attacks and threats of destruction. There were many additional, important differences between Israel and Iraq, and the cause of peace was not served by false comparisons and deliberate obfuscation, which were aimed at preventing constructive action.
BRUNO STAGNO (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said member States of the Group, committed to multilateralism and the principles of the Charter in international relations, reiterated their confidence in multilateral mechanisms for peaceful resolutions of controversies. They confirmed, on the current issue, their confidence that the Council would ensure respect for the principles of international law and that the Council would apply all necessary measures and use all necessary and appropriate means to induce Iraq to comply with Council resolutions. There must be compliance with those resolutions, and any excuses were not permitted.
He called for the full and immediate compliance by Iraq with relevant resolutions regarding destruction of weapons of mass destruction, to cooperate with the inspectors, and to implement the arrangements for inspections and other measures the Council might adopt. He stressed the Group’s full support for Mr. Blix and his team. The legitimacy and effectiveness of that team would depend on its impartiality. He also called on the Council to strengthen the inspectors’ mandate.
ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico), aligning himself with Costa Rica’s statement, said Mexico had condemned the continued non-compliance by Iraq with the international obligations imposed upon it by the Council. The failure to comply regarding disarmament under Chapter VII represented potential threats to peace and regional stability. He reiterated the importance of Iraq’s Government immediately and without restrictions complying with all Council resolutions. He appealed to Iraq to accept the inspection activities to ensure the destruction of all chemical, biological and nuclear weapons it might have. Acceptance by Iraq of the return of inspectors without conditions and restrictions would constitute a first step towards restoring confidence in the United Nations.
The least the international community could expect was that Iraq would cooperate in all respects at all times and places with UNMOVIC and the IAEA to determine that Iraq did not possess the type of weapons laid down in resolution 687, he said. In that process, the Council must preserve its authority to determine composition, mandate, and rules of operation of the inspection teams and the supervision of implementation of enforcement mechanisms adopted under Chapter VII. UNMOVIC must preserve its independence and the inspectors must act in accordance with United Nations regulations.
He said the inspection missions should not contemplate armed escorts or provide for assistance by Council members, and the regime should not be determined exclusively by the five Permanent Members. The determination of the Council should be based on a reliable evaluation of the actual Iraqi military capacity, Iraqi intentions regarding use and the capacity of terrorists to have access to it. The Council could not give up responsibility imposed by the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security. Accordingly, Mexico supported a two-stage action by the Council through a new resolution establishing a revised system of inspections in Iraq. Beginning by non-compliance by Iraq, the Council should determine, based on UNMOVIC and IAEA reports, whether non-compliance constituted a threat to international peace and security and decide what measures to adopt, including the possibility of the use of force. The Council must establish clear criteria guaranteeing the conditions of proportionality, necessity and immediacy.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) was pleased with the assertions made by the majority of speakers concerning the need to resolve the Iraqi situation by peaceful means through the Security Council, as well as the need to respect the political integrity of Iraq. Negotiations should continue through the United Nations towards the resolution of the situation and the lifting of sanctions.
In spite of bitter feelings towards the double standards of the Council, he called for Iraq to fulfil its obligations under relevant resolutions. That effort was progressing through Iraq’s recent agreements with UNMOVIC. The inspectors should resume their work without delay, and the question of Kuwaiti prisoners could also be resolved. The beating of the drums of war did not serve the situation or the United Nations Charter and would increase extremism that was already being provoked by the defiance of Israel, whose representative had just attempted to distort the Charter by claiming that some resolutions were not binding.
JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said his country’s firm objective was the complete disarmament of Iraq in the area of weapons of mass destruction by peaceful means. Ensuring that there was such a solution lay in the hands of Iraq. In 1991, the Council had set out conditions governing the ceasefire between Iraq and the international coalition. Over 11 years later, Iraq remained in material breach of those obligations. No shadow of doubt remained that Iraq had defied the United Nations. Iraq could have invited the inspectors back without conditions at any time in the last few years and sanctions could have been lifted. Only under the recent intense diplomatic pressure, and particularly the threat of military action, had the Iraqi Government’s letter of 16 September emerged.
He said the United Kingdom’s analysis, backed by reliable intelligence, indicated that Iraq still possessed chemical and biological materials and had active military plans for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons. It also showed that Iraq had tried to buy multiple components relevant to the production of a nuclear bomb. He wished to see the Council expressing its will and its unity in a clear, strong resolution that must give the regime in Baghdad an unequivocal choice: complete disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and normal membership in the international community; or refusal and the inevitable consequences. If that choice was clear, and the Council kept its nerve, then there might be a prospect that Iraq would finally comply with its obligations and that military action could be averted.
Ensuring that United Nations inspections were effective meant giving the inspectors the penetrating strength to ensure the successful disarmament of Iraq, he said. Recent Iraqi letters on practical arrangements, the language of which brought back the obfuscations of the past, reinforced the need for strengthened inspections and for practical arrangements to be made legally binding. Regarding Member States’ concerns that one should not rush to war, he said his Government would expect a detailed Council discussion if Mr. Blix or Mr. ElBaradei reported that Iraq was not fully cooperating with the inspection process.
Addressing concerns that the non-permanent members of the Council had been kept in the dark, he said the United Kingdom and the United States had met twice as often with non-permanent members since 12 September as they had with the permanent members. He said Iraq was also in breach of other Council obligations, including on the repatriation of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the return of all Kuwaiti property. There could be no humane reason why Iraq had failed to comply for so long. He called on Iraq to now rectify that non-compliance, including by resuming its participation in the Tripartite Commission under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
ZHANG YISHAN (China) said the long absence of a solution to the Iraq question did not serve peace and stability of the region or the credibility of the Council. Iraq should unconditionally and without restrictions implement Council resolutions at an early date. The international community should seek a comprehensive settlement through diplomatic means. A majority of Member States had emphasized that the question should be settled under the United Nations and that unity of the Council was of paramount importance. They had also expressed their preference for peace over war.
He said the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and other countries in the region should be respected. The question of disarmament was at the core of a solution. Iraq should destroy all weapons of mass destruction in its possession and refrain from using them. Only when inspectors returned to Iraq and conducted effective inspections could the truth be found out. He was pleased with the unconditional acceptance of inspectors by Iraq, and hoped that country would honour the agreed practical arrangements for inspections. The inspectors should return as soon as possible and return to the Council the inspection results. Under such circumstances, he said, he could consider a new resolution of the question. The new resolution should support the work of UNMOVIC and the IAEA and should be practical and feasible.
Other aspects of the Iraqi questions included the humanitarian situation in Iraq. He called on all parties to the “oil-for-food” programme to improve the humanitarian situation. He called on Iraq to take concrete steps for settlement of the issue of Kuwaiti missing persons and third-country nationals.
JOHN NEGROPONTE (United States) said the speech of President George Bush before the General Assembly was a declaration of purpose, not of war, which challenged the international community to restore the Council’s relevance on Iraq after 11 years of failure by that country to accept the demands made on it after its invasion of Kuwait. The threats it posed today, along with its human rights violations, were extremely serious.
There could not be, he said, more toothless resolutions for Iraq to continue to ignore. The Council should stand firm, resolute and united in adopting a resolution that held Iraq to its commitments, that laid out clearly what Iraq must do to comply and which stated that there would be consequences if Iraq refused to comply. He hoped it would comply; if not, compliance would be sought by other means.
In the first step of the new international cooperation on Iraq, Iraq had shown that it hoped to return to the word games, ephemeral commitments and misdirection of the past, while continuing to develop the world’s deadliest weapons. That was why a clear, firm message from the Council was so important.
Over the past weeks, as the United States shared its visions of a firm and unambiguous resolution on Iraq, a consensus had been forming in the Security Council that the time for denial, deception and delay had come to an end, and that Iraq must be verifiably disarmed. The United States was now considering the reactions it had received and would be placing before the Council, in the near future, a resolution with clear and immediate requirements.
He hoped and expected that the Security Council would play its proper role as safeguard of the common security. If it failed to do so, then the United States and other States would be forced to act. Without a clear resolution, there was too high a danger that Iraq would miscalculate. And miscalculation by Iraq would lead to precisely the military action all hoped to avoid. He called for the international community to stand together and show Iraq that its failure to comply would no longer be tolerated.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said by refusing to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors, Iraq had defied the international community and the authority of the Security Council. Even though France did not have irrefutable proof, there were indications that Iraq had used the period since the inspectors left to pursue or resume its prohibited programmes, notably in the chemical and biological areas. That situation could not be tolerated. For France, the objective was the disarmament of Iraq. That implied the return of the inspectors and re-establishing monitoring on the ground.
He said that while doubt had been expressed as to the inspectors' ability to fulfil their mission, there was no reason to question their effectiveness, since the inspections regime defined by resolution 1284 had not yet been tested on the ground. Further, the outcome of the previous United Nations inspections had been very positive. It wasn't the inspections that had failed, but the international community's ability to enforce its decisions in a sufficiently firm and united manner. France supported measures strengthening the inspection regime insofar as it facilitated the inspectors' work. The Council, for example, must examine the question of immediate access to presidential palaces.
Yet France rejected measures that would multiply risks the inspectors might face, he said. It also supported a multinational and independent inspection team. Finally, the opinions of Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei who would lead the inspections on the ground should guide the Council in its choices.
France supported the principle of collective security a principle at the heart of all the Organization's work and international order, he said. The Iraq question should not be an exception. France therefore proposed a two-stage approach. During the first stage, the Council should adopt a resolution clearly specifying the "rules of the game". It should define the inspectors' regime and ensure that inspectors could fully accomplish their mission without hindrance. That resolution should also send a clear warning to Iraq that the Council would not tolerate new violations. During the second stage, if UNMOVIC and the IAEA observed that Iraq was refusing to cooperate fully with the inspectors, the Council should meet immediately to decide appropriate measures to take ruling out no alternatives.
France believed that approach, which had also been proposed by the Secretary-General, was the only one that could offer unity, cohesion, fairness and legitimacy to the Council's work, he said. Indeed, unity in the Council was absolutely vital as in the past, Iraq had taken advantage of divisions within the international community to renege on its promises and defy the Council's authority. Any automatic decision on the use of force would profoundly divide the Council, and only a united front would convince Iraq not to repeat its error. The Council must also demonstrate its fairness by showing Iraq that war was not inevitable if it fully complied with its obligations. With so much at stake, the Council must remain in charge of the process every step of the way.
Finally, he said the debate constituted a defining moment for the Council and the United Nations. Fundamental issues were at stake. "Even beyond Iraq", he said, "we are talking about the future of international order, relations between North and South, and notably, our relationship with the Arab world". An action of uncertain legitimacy, one that did not enjoy the support of the international community would not be understood and could gravely affect those relations.
MAMADY TRAORE (Guinea), taking note of the progress made in arranging the return of inspectors to Iraq, said the Security Council must ensure that Iraq’s commitments were fully kept to avoid the bad precedent of 1998, and there must be a precise, updated mandate given to inspectors. The objective was the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. All other related questions must be resolved as quickly as possible, allowing inspectors to begin their work.
In addition, he called on Iraq to work towards a resolution of the question of missing persons and goods confiscated from Kuwait, in conformity with relevant Council resolutions. He hoped that the crisis would be resolved in a peaceful manner, to avoid a military conflagration with serious consequences. It was important, in addition, that the unity and credibility of the Security Council be preserved during the resolution of the matter.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said the message that must emerge from the meeting was full Iraqi compliance with Security Council resolutions. After ignoring Security Council demands for almost 12 years, the Iraqi Government had recently agreed to unconditionally receive weapons inspectors. Norway hoped that represented an Iraqi change of attitude and willingness to comply with its obligations to cooperate fully with the United Nations. However, practical and unresolved questions remained before inspectors could begin their work.
He said the Security Council should in the immediate future adopt a clear and unambiguous resolution and timetable for the new inspections. Inspectors must also have free and unconditional access to all of Iraq. That meant the need to repeal the 1998 agreement between Iraq and the United Nations on special procedures for inspecting the so-called presidential sites, which include several hundred buildings, unless Iraq declares its disregard of the agreement. No building or site should be given immunity from inspections, he said, stressing there could be no loopholes in the inspection regime.
The mandate of UNMOVIC and the IAEA must be fully clarified before inspectors return, he said. It was essential to work towards the elimination of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems without using military force. However, if Iraq failed to comply again, there must be no doubt that the country would face serious consequences. Any reactions towards Iraq must be anchored in international law, he said, adding that it was vital that the Security Council stood united in that matter.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said three years had passed since resolution 1284 had been adopted. Today, even though UNMOVIC could return to Iraq without the legal necessity of a new resolution, agreement on a new resolution might be wise before the return of the inspectors. He reminded the Council that the resolution had not been adopted unanimously and that three permanent members and one non-permanent member had abstained because of its ambiguities. Furthermore, the geopolitics of that issue had shifted since 1999. A Security Council that did not recognize new geopolitical realities would inevitably become a Council that was unable to carry out its work effectively.
He urged Iraq to cooperate fully with UNMOVIC and the IAEA to enable its inspectors to perform effective inspection and monitoring. That meant giving immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all sites, including presidential sites, without exception. At the same time, UNMOVIC and the IAEA must ensure that all inspections were carried out in an effective but correct manner. The stakes were high. The difference between successful and unsuccessful inspections might be the difference between war and peace.
RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) said the Charter provided that all United Nations Member States –- without exception agreed to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. It was a matter of grave concern when any Member State ignored the will of the international community and continued over many years to disregard the resolutions of the Council. In the case of Iraq, Ireland had long been concerned that legally binding obligations imposed under Security Council resolutions remained unimplemented. He urged Iraq to make it clearer that the inspectors would be allowed immediate and complete access to all parts of the country, including presidential sites.
Such access was necessary if the inspections were to have the necessary credibility among the international community. Iraq must, without further delay, confirm that it accepts, and will facilitate, all the practical arrangements required for the conduct of inspections, he said. A new resolution must insist on unfettered access for the arms inspectors. It must clarify the modalities, remove ambiguities and facilitate their work, so as to ensure effective inspection of all sites. The resolution must make it clear that the Council will take any necessary decision to enforce compliance, if Iraq does not cooperate as required. The Government of Iraq had it in its power to remove the present tensions and end the suffering of its people by meeting its obligations under Security Council resolutions. Iraq must do so without any further prevarication.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the current impasse on Iraq had its roots not only in Iraqi intransigence, but also in the Council’s inability to objectively assess the situation. The 7,000 inspections of UNSCOM and the IAEA had achieved much success in fulfilment of the relevant resolutions. Unfortunately, the Council was not able to recognize that fact four years ago. Instead, a standoff had ensued, and air strikes were launched. UNSCOM had played a role in undermining the basis for reaching a final settlement.
The Russian Federation, he said, had also made concrete proposals for criteria for lifting of sanctions in ensuing resolutions, which were not accepted. The only way of making sure that weapons of mass destruction were eliminated in Iraq was returning inspectors, to which Iraq had agreed. Everything was now in place for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis. No new decisions were needed by the Security Council. The inspectors did not need new decisions; they needed clarity. If Mr. Blix, to achieve such clarity, required new resolutions, his delegation would be prepared to work on that.
Progress, he said, could also be made on the return of Kuwaiti detainees and property. However, the Security Council could not give its consent to a new resolution for the purpose of the use of force for regime change. The vast majority of the international community had been calling for the return of inspectors and a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. That call could not be ignored.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia), endorsing Costa Rica’s statement on behalf of the Rio Group, stressed the centrality of the multilateral forum of the Council in the current matter, and the significance of multilateral means to respond to issues of global concern. The international community was dissatisfied regarding responses, in the past, of Iraq to requirements of the Council. He supported the work of UNMOVIC and the IAEA. It was urgent that they examine the information provided by Iraq that it was complying with relevant resolutions. UNMOVIC must be present on the ground with a renewed mandate of the Council, which defined with precision, firmness and clarity the parameters for inspections. The greatest challenge for Iraq was to demonstrate it did not constitute a threat anymore.
He said there was also the disturbing humanitarian situation of the Iraq population, for which the Iraqi regime was solely responsible. There were also other pending issues, such as the return of Kuwaiti property, and the matter of prisoners of war and missing persons from Kuwait and third countries. The return of inspectors should not distract the Council from those other issues. The Council must begin to make efforts to narrow difference and decide in a hopefully unanimous form how to proceed. Developments of the current situation should not distract the Council from confronting international terrorism.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) said his delegation supported the position of the European Union, which had been presented earlier in the debate. As the Secretary-General had pointed out at the outset of the discussion, it was more than ever necessary to maintain the credibility of the Security Council, and the settlement of the Iraqi problem was very important in that regard. He was sure the international community was capable of resolving the crisis by diplomatic means under the United Nations Charter. The United States had chosen to turn to the United Nations to resolve the crisis, and he was encouraged by that choice. He was convinced the range of diplomatic means had not yet been exhausted. He expressed gratitude to the Secretary-General for his efforts to find a way out of the crisis and was also thankful to Mr. Blix for making his expertise available to the Council.
Turning to the relationship between the Security Council and Iraq, he recalled that had Iraq conformed to relevant resolutions, there would be no sanctions against that country in effect now. He urged Iraq to immediately comply, fully and unconditionally, with relevant Council resolutions. Yesterday, the representative of Iraq had said his country had no weapons of mass destruction. If that was the case, nothing should stop Iraq from immediately providing access by inspectors to all sites. Iraq should also comply with all resolutions regarding the return of Kuwaiti and third country citizens, property and archives. Given the difficult relations between the Council and Iraq, it was clear that UNMOVIC would not be able to fulfil its mandate without a clear new resolution.
The road to peace was narrow, and it was not easy, but it existed. At the end of the road was normalization of the situation within the country and the region. Bulgaria was prepared to make a constructive contribution to the resolution of the problem in conformity with the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law. Only the unity of the Council would send a strong and clear message to Iraq. He supported the Secretary-General’s appeal in that respect.
JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said there was a convergence of views on the need for Iraq to dispose of all its weapons of mass destruction in compliance with Security Council resolutions 687 and 1284. By defying those resolutions, Iraq had not helped itself or its people who now had to live under United Nations-imposed sanctions. Further, Iraq had aroused suspicions about its possession of such weapons because of its evasive tactics. On the basis of Iraq’s past actions, it was imperative that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction be eliminated.
Iraq's position had evolved in recent weeks to allow the return of United Nations arms inspectors, he said. That was a welcome development. Full cooperation should be given to the inspectors in order to have the issue resolved and sanctions reviewed. No new resolution was needed to deal with the matter. If Iraq proved uncooperative, Mauritius would be willing to support a new Council initiative to allow the inspectors immediate and unfettered access to all sites.
His country considered it important that UNMOVIC resume its activities in Iraq as soon as possible. "We should not be perceived", he cautioned, "as delaying the process". His delegation fully supported and had confidence in Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei who, guided by the principles of professionalism and transparency, would fulfil their task with efficiency and credibility. There should, as well, be no prejudging of their work or of their respective multinational and independent teams. He also expressed his country's desire for issues pertaining to Kuwaiti prisoners of war and return of Kuwaiti property to be settled.
The President of the Council, MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon), speaking in his national capacity, regretted that the Iraqi authorities had not respected the numerous resolutions of the Council either on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait or on the issue of disarmament. Iraq must show it did not have weapons of mass destruction. Problems such as the restitution of Kuwaiti property, and the return of Kuwaiti nationals were issues still outstanding. The non-compliance by Iraq undermined the credibility of the United Nations and could pave the way to an undesirable unilateralism. Today’s debate went above disarming Iraq and inspections but also involved two principles the obligation of every Member State to submit to conditions undertaken by the Council and the Council’s obligation to act quickly and fairly.
He was in favour of the unconditional resumption of inspections by UNMOVIC and the IAEA. It was in everyone’s interest for inspections to be conducted in conformance with resolutions 1284 and 687 and other relevant resolutions. The Council should reaffirm, in a new resolution, its total support for UNMOVIC and IAEA teams before they left for Iraq. The new resolution should specify the practical modalities for the inspections to eliminate existing ambiguities. The resolution must also indicate clearly that the Council would take appropriate measures if Iraq did not comply. It must further include some provisions to suspend sanctions if Iraq complied.
He invited Iraqi to cooperate fully with the inspectors. That was the only way to show its good faith and to spare the world one more conflict. Finally, he was pleased to note that during consultations, all Council Members had given him clear assurances that they would do nothing against Iraq without explicit approval of the Council.
Responding to a statement by Israel, Mr. AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer of Palestine, whose delegation was speaking for the second time, said that the representative of that country had brought up matters not related to the issue under discussion and had given legal arguments, which interpreted the Charter and Council resolutions in a false way. He had also attempted to say that there was a difference in the nature of the resolutions adopted pursuant to Chapters VI and VII of the Charter. He even went so far as to say that resolutions under Chapter VI were mere recommendations. Of course, there was a difference embodied in the fact that an enforcement mechanism was envisioned in the texts adopted pursuant to Chapter VII, but to give an impression that some resolutions were obligatory and some were not was an attempt to falsify one of the principles of the Charter, which was extremely clear that all the Council resolutions were mandatory.
Israel was the only State within the United Nations which had been recognized by the Council as an occupation force and the only State that was persevering in an active colonialist situation in the twenty-first century. From the very beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, the Council had adopted 37 resolutions related to the Israeli practices in the occupied territories. Among them, there were 27 texts reaffirming the Fourth Geneva Convention and calling on Israel to respect it and those related to displaced Palestinian people and illegal Israeli practices designed to change the demographic situation in Al-Quds. Israel still refused to implement them. In particular, Israel continued to pursue “Judaization” of Al-Quds and insisted on calling it the capital of Israel. Also continuing were the illegitimate settlements in the occupied territories, extradition of Palestinians, and lack of protection for Palestinian civilians.
The latest of those resolutions was the text concerning the fact-finding committee following what had been perpetrated by Israel in the Jenin camp, he said. Thus, it was not a matter of what had taken place only in recent months –- it was a matter of organized Israeli policies in blatant violation of 37 Council resolutions, international law and the United Nations Charter. The life of the Palestinian people had been destroyed, and their land had been stolen. He did not think there was a similar example either in today’s world, or in the history of the United Nations. Why was nothing undertaken under Chapter 7 of the Charter to impose compliance? The answer was well known, but undoubtedly that constituted a double standard. It was necessary to convey a message that there was a single standard that applied to all.
MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) thanked all participants in the debate, which had been useful to the Council and the world. It had been held to offset significant efforts to influence public opinion. He ask ed whether, without Iraq having oil or water, the situation now would be the same. The only objective of the coming war was oil and imposing hegemony. The larger part of the world was in favour of peace and diplomacy under the Charter of the United Nations. He himself was in that camp and fervently desired peace and reconciliation. He deeply cared about the future of the world organization, which had been recently jeopardized by one major super-Power which had said that if the United Nations did not act, it would go its own way.
During the debate, the President of the super-Power had celebrated a law that was tantamount to a declaration of war. An active minority, of two States, spoke about war. However, the majority of the United Nations was still anxious to preserve peace and the principles of the United Nations. It was not Iraq that would undermine the credibility of the United Nations. It would work tirelessly to restore the credibility of the United Nations. His Government had full confidence in Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei. The doors were wide open, including those of palaces, small houses, hospitals and schools. "Let them come. We are not afraid", he said.
Some had said Iraq had violated all resolutions of the Council. That statement might have derived from a lack of familiarity with UNSCOM documents. Iraq had not expelled UNSCOM inspectors. Mr. Butler had received orders from the United States and the United Kingdom to leave Iraq, after which that country was bombed. Those inspection teams had not been able to put their finger on one single element that could indicate there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He hoped the inspectors could return soon so they could tell that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and did not intend to acquire them.
Some had said that once inspectors were back in Iraq and once they reported there were no weapons of mass destruction, the sanctions would be lifted. He feared they were too optimistic. The United States and United Kingdom had stated that sanctions would never be lifted unless there was a regime change. Regarding allegations that Iraq had not facilitated implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, he said that while the fund had enough money, there had been 2,000 contracts "pending", including for medical supplies and material for provisions of drinking water. Iraq had lost hundreds of people because of that situation. The fund had little money because the United States and United Kingdom had imposed a retroactive pricing system for oil, making oil prices volatile.
Regarding the issue of Kuwait property, he said some of that property would be returned to its owners. He recognized what had been said about the rights of the Kuwaitis. They should get their property back without problems.
He assured the Council that Iraq had approved and signed the agreement in Vienna, was bound by all its provisions and had invited the inspectors to Iraq. If problems occurred, Iraq was ready to cooperate to resolve them. Any doubt cast on the agreement was inaccurate. There was no misunderstanding on what had been agreed in Vienna. He said the only goal sought in the text of a new resolution seemed to be to prevent UNMOVIC from doing its work. The United Nations did not need another resolution. Iraq was resolved to implement Council resolutions in spirit and in letter.
Mr. DIAB (Lebanon), whose delegation was speaking for the second time, said the representative of Israel had claimed that his Government had implemented resolution 425. Israel had continued to occupy southern Lebanon for more than 25 years, and the occupation would have continued, if not for the heroic efforts of the Lebanese people. He wanted to remind the Israeli representative that his Government still detained Lebanese in Israeli prisons, some for over a quarter of a century. Also, the Israeli Government still daily violated resolution 425. The Council still considered Israel the only occupying Power in the world.
The Arab people were peace-loving people, as amply demonstrated by the Beirut Summit, which had offered total peace to Israel for its withdrawal from all Arab territories. Israel’s response was the re-occupation of the West Bank. It remained for Israel to implement scores of United Nations resolutions. The Council should also bear its responsibility in accordance with the Charter for the implementation of resolutions, for peace in the region and to avoid any double standard in the application of its resolutions.
Mr. LANCRY (Israel), whose delegation was speaking for the second time, said he wanted to express disagreement with what was said by Iraq. The Council’s resolutions existed in the context of serious negotiations with the Palestinians. The final status of Jerusalem and the question of refugees were part of the final status negotiations. Yet, the observer of Palestine continued to mention the one-dimensional value of the Council resolutions. For the Palestinian observer, those resolutions referred to Israel alone and the Palestinians could ignore them. They contained therein a series of Palestinian obligations as well, but the Palestinians chose to ignore them.
“Comparing Israel and Iraq was a dangerous slippage serving an unscrupulous dictator”, he said. Democracy in Israel was, while not perfect, still democracy. The representative of Syria had engaged in denigrating Israeli democracy because he came from a Syrian democracy, which was handed down from one generation to another. Was there any hope for Lebanon? Where was the resolution of the Council which would one day invite one of its own members, Syria, to negotiate its withdrawal from Lebanon? That was the question Syria must answer.
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria), whose delegation was speaking for the second time, said that more than 90 per cent of speakers had said very clearly that the Council should not in any way deal in double standards. Every time that was said in the meeting, it was in reference to Israel. Israel had not only spoiled the situation in the Middle East, but had also undermined collective endeavours on the international scene. The logic used by Israel condemned him, first of all. It was a shame that someone had come to the Council to defend occupation.
When he listened to the ridiculous statements that had been made, he could not believe he was in the Security Council, he remarked. The democracy Israel spoke of was one of killing, destruction and oppression of all the States of the region as well as the possession of weapons of mass destruction. The present Israeli regime was a bloodthirsty one by any standard.
Democracy should come from within and be the main feature of relations among nations, he said. The only State that objected to that sort of democracy was Israel. Syria had its own democracy and had elections at all levels. In a few days, it would be holding parliamentary elections.
The biggest lie uttered by Israel was the one regarding Lebanon, he said. The country most concerned about Lebanese sovereignty was Syria. The reason Syrian forces went into Lebanon was another issue. Syria was ready to negotiate with the Lebanese Government its withdrawal from Lebanon. Was there a single government in the world which did not recognize the Lebanese Government? It seemed Israel was the only one. The ties between Syria and Lebanon were ties of brotherly relations, based on the wishes of the Lebanese people. Israel did not have any right to care about the Lebanese people when it had killed scores of thousands of them.
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For a summary of the debate in the Security Council on 8 November 2002 upon the adoption of Resolution 1441 (2002), click here.
For the text of Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002) of 8 November 2002, click here.
For the text of the joint letter from the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Hans Blix, and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El-Baradei, to General Amir H. Al-Saadi, of the Iraqi Presidential Office, dated 8 October 2002, and annexed to Resolution 1441 (2002), click here.
For the text of the Joint Statement of 8 November 2002 by China, France and Russia interpreting Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002), click here.
For the explanation of the vote of the United Kingdom, click here.
For the explanation of the vote of the United States, click here.
For the State Department press briefing on Resolution 1441 (2002), click here.
For other documents on the Iraq crisis, click here.
Copyright Peter Willetts, 2002.
The text of this web page may be freely used provided that the author and the website address www.staff.city.ac.uk/p.willetts/IRAQ/INDEX.HTM are cited.
Centre for International Politics, School of Social Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.
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Page created on 15 November 2002.
Last updated on 15 November 2002.