Notes for briefing the Security Council on UNMOVIC's
Readiness to Resume Operations
Dr. Hans Blix, UNMOVIC Executive Chairman
Tuesday 22 April 2003
On 19 March, I introduced the draft UNMOVIC work programme to the Council, as required under Security Council resolution 1284 (1999). That was the day after all our inspectors and other international UN staff had been withdrawn from Iraq and our inspection work had been suspended. The Council naturally took no decision on the draft work programme.
The armed action in Iraq began on 19 March and we were relieved that all our international staff, together with UN staff could be airlifted to Larnaca in Cyprus the day before, and that the Iraqi authorities facilitated our departure.
The war has now covered the whole of Iraq, the Government of President Saddam Hussein has disappeared and the US and its allies report that they are in the process of stabilizing the situation on the ground, and of preparing for the emergence of civilian authorities.
It is evident that in a situation that is still insecure and where military considerations and measures dominate, civilian international inspection can hardly operate. It is also evident that some of the premises upon which the Council established UNMOVIC and gave it far-reaching powers vis-à-vis Iraq have changed.
We used to deal with governmental authorities, which were suspected of wanting to retain and hide weapons of mass destruction. Seeking truthful information through interviews with scientists, administrators or engineers was, for example, always somewhat problematic, as the persons might be influenced by an awareness of what the brutal regime wanted them to say.
We are now in a situation where the coalition authorities, which are extending their control over the country, are as eager as we are to identify any weapons of mass destruction or other proscribed items. The same, I trust, will be the case with any civilian authorities that emerge. Further, many persons who can give information about the past weapons programmes and the location of proscribed items or relevant documents are now more likely to tell what they know.
I find it entirely natural that the coalition authorities, which entered Iraq, established units devoted to the search for and identification of weapons of mass destruction and other proscribed items. In the phase of active hostilities, the finding and neutralizing of such items was evidently a matter of security. Furthermore, as a stated objective of the war has been the assured eradication of all weapons of mass destruction, the search for these weapons and control of them would appear to be a logical part of the operations. I have publicly said that I wished these units every success in finding the truth about the weapons, which, at UNMOVIC, we have concluded could exist and which several governments are convinced do exist. I have no doubt about the determination of these units to work objectively.
All this being said, it remains that finding the long sought truth about the suspected existence of weapons of mass destruction and other proscribed items in Iraq is an interest that is not limited to the governments that have pursued the war but is one which is shared by the whole international community. Indeed, the Security Council has devoted its attention and efforts to it for over a decade.
I note further that, under several still valid resolutions, assessments and conclusions by UNMOVIC and the IAEA are needed as premises for Council decisions affecting the sanctions regime. Several resolutions also foresee long-term monitoring by these organizations.
What is now the role and potential role of UNMOVIC?
UNMOVIC is a subsidiary body of the Security Council and its mandate, tasks and rights are described in several resolutions adopted by the Council. Any or all of these can be abrogated or modified by the Council at any time, but so long as that has not happened they remain guiding - as far as is practically possible, I should add.
Resolution 1284 (1999) expressed, in paragraph 33, the intention of the Council to suspend sanctions, if and when UNMOVIC and the IAEA reported that Iraq had cooperated in all respects for 120 days after they had reported themselves fully operational. In assessing Iraq's cooperation, the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC was to consider the progress made in the resolution of key remaining disarmament tasks. The suspension of sanctions was subject to "the elaboration of effective financial and other operational measures to ensure that Iraq does not acquire prohibited items."
Resolution 1441 (2002), lastly, decided, in operative paragraph 2, to set up "an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process ". UNMOVIC and the IAEA have reported to the Council on their efforts in this regard.
These and other resolutions were not written with the current situation in mind and they could not be applied to the letter. Accordingly, UNMOVIC and the IAEA need guidance from the Council on how to proceed.
If new guidance were to be given, some central points in the resolutions might be considered:
· UNMOVIC is a subsidiary body of the Council and both UNMOVIC and the IAEA receive their mandates from the Council and act independently of individual states. Their staff are obliged not to seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization (Article 100 of the UN Charter, Article VII (f) of the Statute of the IAEA).
· UNMOVIC and the IAEA are given unrestricted rights of access to sites and persons, and to move and communicate freely and safely in Iraq.
· Iraq has the duty to cooperate immediately, unconditionally and actively with both organizations.
· UNMOVIC and the IAEA are to report on the disarmament of Iraq and on cooperation and progress made to this end, and such reports are to serve as the basis for Council action relating to sanctions - either lifting or suspension coupled with effective financial and other operational measures to prevent the acquisition of prohibited items.
· Ongoing monitoring and verification is required to give long-term assurance that no revival occurs in any of the prohibited programmes.
· Disarmament actions in Iraq are seen as steps toward the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction.
If these basic points were considered relevant for some new guidance, the inspecting authorities would need to remain independent of all individual governments and authorities to retain international credibility in their work for the Council. They would need to preserve their full rights to communication and to access to any Iraqi sites for inspection and to Iraqi persons for interviews. They would further need assistance and cooperation from any Iraqi authorities that are established and from the coalition authorities. They would notably need a new local counterpart to fulfil the role that was played by Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate.
The draft work programme, which was submitted by UNMOVIC, would need to be adapted. It might be assumed that the inspection units of the coalition could relatively soon present results from their extensive activities and that with the assistance and cooperation of these units their findings could be verified and corroborated within a limited period of time, using some of the methods set out in the draft work programme presented. The rules, which have been guiding in the past pursuant to UN resolutions, required that any destruction of proscribed items should take place under international supervision. This would seem still advisable for international credibility. Lastly, the long-term international monitoring programme envisaged by the resolutions may continue to be required to maintain a high-level of confidence in the region and the world that Iraq remain free of weapons of mass destruction.
Let me now turn to describe the practical matter of how UNMOVIC maintains a readiness to resume work in Iraq.
UNMOVIC has 85 inspectors from the roster still on contract until the middle of June. They are at present on leave of absence and can be recalled for inspection work at any time. After June, UNMOVIC would depend on the reactivation of these and other inspectors on the roster as was done in November 2002. Such reactivation would take about four weeks from the time a decision is taken to resume operations in Iraq. The roster has 315 names.
In New York, some staff may not extend their contracts in the current situation but so far most UNMOVIC personnel here have remained. They are completing the work arising from past inspections, both analysis and assessment of data. About 30 staff members here - mainly from our Operations and Analysis Divisions - would form the core of the first inspection teams if we were to resume work in Iraq. They would later be replaced by staff from the roster. Within two weeks, after a decision on resumption of work, they would be able to start the necessary activities.
UNMOVIC's examination of contracts related to the Goods Review List continues as before.
UNMOVIC's Baghdad Centre, which was left closed and sealed at our withdrawal, was fully supported with office equipment, satellite links and computers. According to the information we have received, looters entered all the floors of the Canal Hotel, where the UN offices are located. It seems they have looted much of our equipment and office material. The situation is less clear as regards the laboratories. A container in the yard, with chemical analysis facilities, seems to be intact.
The laboratories for screening chemical and biological samples could be reactivated within the same time frame. From the some 90 vehicles available for use by the inspectors, only 16 appear to remain for use after some repairs. Thirty-three local staff are currently under contract until the end of June.
Some security and support arrangements would need to be discussed with relevant authorities in Baghdad before any resumption of UNMOVIC activities.
Despite the losses, our Centre in Baghdad could probably go back into limited operations within two weeks after a return of staff. Thus, UNMOVIC would be ready to resume work in Iraq at the service of the Council.
With your permission, I should like to make some short comments on recent media coverage of UNMOVIC, which might have puzzled Members of the Council. Despite our departure from Iraq, we seem still to be of great interest to the media and we respond only to a small part of all requests for interviews. We do feel as before that we have a duty as a UN authority to provide information on what we do and where we stand and to do so to media in various parts of the world.
In a few recent cases of interviews, which have been published first in other languages than English and then been translated into English there have been serious errors.
On several occasions, I have pointed to weaknesses in intelligence provided about Iraq's weapons programmes and this has been reported by the media. I have at the same time always stressed the need for intelligence and the difficulties which the various agencies face in their work. I hardly need to add that I have at no time suggested or even remotely implied that any government was linked to the fabrication of any evidence.
To take a second example, while I have at no time suggested that the war was a foregone conclusion, I have stated as my impression that US patience with further inspection seemed to run out at about the same time as our Iraqi counterparts began to be proactive in proposing new investigations, supplying more explanations and names. I did not imply that there was any causal link. Had I looked for one, I would have assumed that the accelerating Iraqi activity was prompted by the feeling that time was running out. Indeed, both Dr. ElBaradei and I said as much to our counterparts at meetings in Baghdad.
Let me conclude by telling the Council that in the absence of guidance to the contrary from the Council, it would be our intention to submit a next quarterly UNMOVIC report to the Council for the period 1 March to 1 June. Lastly, I should note that when in February I had my contract as Executive Chairman extended, I did not want it to run beyond the month of June and I have subsequently made it known that I do not wish to prolong it.
Executive Chairman Dr. Hans Blix
UNMOVIC was established by the Security Council resolution 1284 (1999) and was enabled to enter Iraq and carry out its inspection work almost three years later.
It might seem strange that we are presenting a draft work programme only after having already performed inspections for three and a half months. However, there were good reasons why the Council wanted to give us some time after the start of inspections to prepare this programme. During the months of the build up of our resources in Iraq, Larnaca and New York and of inspections in Iraq we have - as was indeed the purpose - learnt a great deal that has been useful to know for the drafting of our work programme and for the selection of key remaining disarmament tasks. It would have been difficult to draft it without this knowledge and this practical experience.
The time lines established in resolution 1284 (1999) have been understood to mean that the work programme was to be presented for the approval of the Council at the latest on 27 March. In order to meet the wishes of members of the Council we made the Draft Work Programme available already on Monday this week. I note that on the very same day we were constrained together with other UN units to order the withdrawal of all our inspectors and other international staff from Iraq.
I naturally feel sadness that three and a half months of work carried out in Iraq have not brought the assurances needed about the absence of weapons of mass destruction or other proscribed items in Iraq, that no more time is available for our inspections and that armed action now seems imminent.
At the same time I feel a sense of relief that it was possible to withdraw yesterday all UN international staff, including that of UNMOVIC and the IAEA. I note that the Iraqi authorities gave full cooperation to achieve this and that our withdrawal to Larnaca took place in a safe and orderly manner. Some sensitive equipment was also taken to Larnaca, while other equipment was left and our offices in Baghdad have been sealed. Some inspection staff will remain for a short time in Larnaca to prepare inspection reports. Others who have come from our roster of trained staff, will go home to their previous positions and could be available again, if the need arises.
I would like further to make some specific comments that relate to the Draft Programme. I am aware of ideas which have been advanced that specific groups of disarmament issues could be tackled and solved within specific time lines. The programme does not propose such an approach, in which, say, we would aim at addressing and resolving the issues of anthrax and VX in March and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) in April. In the work we pursued until now we worked broadly and did not neglect any identified disarmament issues. However, it is evidently possible for the Council to single out a few issues for resolution within a specific time, just as the draft programme before you selects twelve key tasks progress on which could have an impact on the Council's assessment of cooperation of Iraq under resolution 1284 (1999). Whatever approach is followed, results will depend on Iraq's active cooperation on substance.
May I add that in my last report I commented on information provided by Iraq on a number of unresolved issues. Since then, Iraq has sent several more letters on such issues. These efforts by Iraq should be acknowledged, but, as I noted in this Council on 7 March the value of the information thus provided must be soberly judged. Our experts have found so far that in substance only limited new information has been provided that will help to resolve remaining questions.
Under resolution 1284 (1999) UNMOVIC's work programme is to be submitted to the Council for approval. I note, however, that what was drafted and prepared for implementation by a large staff of UNMOVIC inspectors and other resources deployed in Iraq, would seem to have only limited practical relevance in the current situation.
UNMOVIC is a subsidiary organ of the Security Council. Until the Council takes a new decision regarding the role and functions of the Commission, the previous resolutions remain valid to the extent this is practicable. It is evidently for the Council to consider the next steps.
In its further deliberations I hope the Council will be aware that it has in UNMOVIC staff a unique body of international experts who owe their allegiance to the United Nations, and who are trained as inspectors in the field of weapons of mass destruction. While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a large department of skilled nuclear inspectors and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has a large staff of skilled chemical weapons inspectors, no other international organizations have trained inspectors in the field of biological weapons and missiles. There is also in the secretariat of UNMOVIC staff familiar with and trained in the analysis, both of discipline specific issues and in the broad questions of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With increasing attention being devoted to the proliferation of these weapons this capability may be valuable to the Council.
I thank you, Mr. President.
Executive Chairman Dr. Hans Blix
For nearly three years, I have been coming to the Security
Council presenting the quarterly reports of UNMOVIC. They have
described our many preparations for the resumption of inspections
in Iraq. The 12th quarterly report is the first that describes
three months of inspections. They come after four years without
inspections. The report was finalized ten days ago and a number
of relevant events have taken place since then. Today's statement
will supplement the circulated report on these points to bring
the Council up-to-date.
Inspections in Iraq resumed on 27 November 2002. In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM in the period 1991 to 1998. This may well be due to the strong outside pressure.
Some practical matters, which were not settled by the talks, Dr. ElBaradei and I had with the Iraqi side in Vienna prior to inspections or in resolution 1441 (2002), have been resolved at meetings, which we have had in Baghdad. Initial difficulties raised by the Iraqi side about helicopters and aerial surveillance planes operating in the no-fly zones were overcome. This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.
American U-2 and French Mirage surveillance aircraft already give us valuable imagery, supplementing satellite pictures and we would expect soon to be able to add night vision capability through an aircraft offered to us by the Russian Federation. We also expect to add low-level, close area surveillance through drones provided by Germany. We are grateful not only to the countries, which place these valuable tools at our disposal, but also to the States, most recently Cyprus, which has agreed to the stationing of aircraft on their territory.
Documents and interviews
Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons programmes. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began inspections. It was a disappointment that Iraq's Declaration of 7 December did not bring new documentary evidence. I hope that efforts in this respect, including the appointment of a governmental commission, will give significant results. When proscribed items are deemed unaccounted for it is above all credible accounts that is needed - or the proscribed items, if they exist.
Where authentic documents do not become available, interviews with persons, who may have relevant knowledge and experience, may be another way of obtaining evidence. UNMOVIC has names of such persons in its records and they are among the people whom we seek to interview. In the last month, Iraq has provided us with the names of many persons, who may be relevant sources of information, in particular, persons who took part in various phases of the unilateral destruction of biological and chemical weapons, and proscribed missiles in 1991. The provision of names prompts two reflections:
The first is that with such detailed information existing regarding those who took part in the unilateral destruction, surely there must also remain records regarding the quantities and other data concerning the various items destroyed.
The second reflection is that with relevant witnesses available it becomes even more important to be able to conduct interviews in modes and locations, which allow us to be confident that the testimony is given without outside influence. While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials (so-called minders) or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq. Interviews outside the country might provide such assurance. It is our intention to request such interviews shortly. Nevertheless, despite remaining shortcomings, interviews are useful. Since we started requesting interviews, 38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms, 7 of these during the last week.
As I noted on 14 February, intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks and, in particular, that there are mobile production units for biological weapons. The Iraqi side states that such activities do not exist. Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities. Food testing mobile laboratories and mobile workshops have been seen, as well as large containers with seed processing equipment. No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found. Iraq is expected to assist in the development of credible ways to conduct random checks of ground transportation.
Inspectors are also engaged in examining Iraq's programme for Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs). A number of sites have been inspected with data being collected to assess the range and other capabilities of the various models found. Inspections are continuing in this area.
There have been reports, denied from the Iraqi side, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on any underground structure suitable for the production or storage of WMD. During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspection teams have examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground penetrating radar equipment was used in several specific locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far.
I should add that, both for the monitoring of ground transportation and for the inspection of underground facilities, we would need to increase our staff in Iraq. I am not talking about a doubling of the staff. I would rather have twice the amount of high quality information about sites to inspect than twice the number of expert inspectors to send.
On 14 February, I reported to the Council that the Iraqi side had become more active in taking and proposing steps, which potentially might shed new light on unresolved disarmament issues. Even a week ago, when the current quarterly report was finalized, there was still relatively little tangible progress to note. Hence, the cautious formulations in the report before you.
As of today, there is more. While during our meetings in Baghdad, the Iraqi side tried to persuade us that the Al Samoud 2 missiles they have declared fall within the permissible range set by the Security Council, the calculations of an international panel of experts led us to the opposite conclusion. Iraq has since accepted that these missiles and associated items be destroyed and has started the process of destruction under our supervision. The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament - indeed, the first since the middle of the 1990s. We are not watching the breaking of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed. However, I must add that no destruction has happened today. I hope it's a temporary break.
To date, 34 Al Samoud 2 missiles, including 4 training missiles, 2 combat warheads, 1 launcher and 5 engines have been destroyed under UNMOVIC supervision. Work is continuing to identify and inventory the parts and equipment associated with the Al Samoud 2 programme.
Two 'reconstituted' casting chambers used in the production of solid propellant missiles have been destroyed and the remnants melted or encased in concrete.
The legality of the Al Fatah missile is still under review, pending further investigation and measurement of various parameters of that missile.
More papers on anthrax, VX and missiles have recently been provided. Many have been found to restate what Iraq had already declared, some will require further study and discussion.
There is a significant Iraqi effort underway to clarify a major source of uncertainty as to the quantities of biological and chemical weapons, which were unilaterally destroyed in 1991. A part of this effort concerns a disposal site, which was deemed too dangerous for full investigation in the past. It is now being re-excavated. To date, Iraq has unearthed eight complete bombs comprising two liquid-filled intact R-400 bombs and six other complete bombs. Bomb fragments were also found. Samples have been taken. The investigation of the destruction site could, in the best case, allow the determination of the number of bombs destroyed at that site. It should be followed by a serious and credible effort to determine the separate issue of how many R-400 type bombs were produced. In this, as in other matters, inspection work is moving on and may yield results.
Iraq proposed an investigation using advanced technology to quantify the amount of unilaterally destroyed anthrax dumped at a site. However, even if the use of advanced technology could quantify the amount of anthrax, said to be dumped at the site, the results would still be open to interpretation. Defining the quantity of anthrax destroyed must, of course, be followed by efforts to establish what quantity was actually produced.
With respect to VX, Iraq has recently suggested a similar method to quantify a VX precursor stated to have been unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.
Iraq has also recently informed us that, following the adoption of the presidential decree prohibiting private individuals and mixed companies from engaging in work related to WMD, further legislation on the subject is to be enacted. This appears to be in response to a letter from UNMOVIC requesting clarification of the issue.
What are we to make of these activities? One can hardly avoid the impression that, after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation, there has been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side since the end of January.
This is welcome, but the value of these measures must be soberly judged by how many question marks they actually succeed in straightening out. This is not yet clear.
Against this background, the question is now asked whether Iraq has cooperated "immediately, unconditionally and actively" with UNMOVIC, as required under paragraph 9 of resolution 1441 (2002). The answers can be seen from the factual descriptions I have provided. However, if more direct answers are desired, I would say the following:
The Iraqi side has tried on occasion to attach conditions, as it did regarding helicopters and U-2 planes. Iraq has not, however, so far persisted in these or other conditions for the exercise of any of our inspection rights. If it did, we would report it.
It is obvious that, while the numerous initiatives, which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues, can be seen as "active", or even "proactive", these initiatives 3-4 months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute "immediate" cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance. They are nevertheless welcome and UNMOVIC is responding to them in the hope of solving presently unresolved disarmament issues.
Members of the Council may relate most of what I have said to resolution 1441 (2002), but UNMOVIC is performing work under several resolutions of the Security Council. The quarterly report before you is submitted in accordance with resolution 1284 (1999), which not only created UNMOVIC but also continues to guide much of our work. Under the time lines set by the resolution, the results of some of this work is to be reported to the Council before the end of this month. Let me be more specific.
Resolution 1284 (1999) instructs UNMOVIC to "address unresolved disarmament issues" and to identify "key remaining disarmament tasks" and the latter are to be submitted for approval by the Council in the context of a work programme. UNMOVIC will be ready to submit a draft work programme this month as required.
UNSCOM and the Amorim Panel did valuable work to identify the disarmament issues, which were still open at the end of 1998. UNMOVIC has used this material as starting points but analysed the data behind it and data and documents post 1998 up to the present time to compile its own list of "unresolved disarmament issues" or, rather, clustered issues. It is the answers to these issues which we seek through our inspection activities.
It is from the list of these clustered issues that UNMOVIC will identify the "key remaining disarmament tasks". As noted in the report before you, this list of clustered issues is ready.
UNMOVIC is only required to submit the work programme with the "key remaining disarmament tasks" to the Council. As I understand that several Council members are interested in the working document with the complete clusters of disarmament issues, we have declassified it and are ready to make it available to members of the Council on request. In this working document, which may still be adjusted in the light of new information, members will get a more up-to-date review of the outstanding issues than in the documents of 1999, which members usually refer to. Each cluster in the working document ends with a number of points indicating what Iraq could do to solve the issue. Hence, Iraq's cooperation could be measured against the successful resolution of issues.
I should note that the working document contains much information and discussion about the issues which existed at the end of 1998 - including information which has come to light after 1998. It contains much less information and discussion about the period after 1998, primarily because of paucity of information. Nevertheless, intelligence agencies have expressed the view that proscribed programmes have continued or restarted in this period. It is further contended that proscribed programmes and items are located in underground facilities, as I mentioned, and that proscribed items are being moved around Iraq. The working document contains some suggestions on how these concerns may be tackled.
Let me conclude by telling you that UNMOVIC is currently drafting the work programme, which resolution 1284 (1999) requires us to submit this month. It will obviously contain our proposed list of key remaining disarmament tasks; it will describe the reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification that the Council has asked us to implement; it will also describe the various subsystems which constitute the programme, e.g. for aerial surveillance, for information from governments and suppliers, for sampling, for the checking of road traffic, etc.
How much time would it take to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks? While cooperation can and is to be immediate, disarmament and at any rate the verification of it cannot be instant. Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude, induced by continued outside pressure, it would still take some time to verify sites and items, analyse documents, interview relevant persons, and draw conclusions. It would not take years, nor weeks, but months. Neither governments nor inspectors would want disarmament inspection to go on forever. However, it must be remembered that in accordance with the governing resolutions, a sustained inspection and monitoring system is to remain in place after verified disarmament to give confidence and to strike an alarm, if signs were seen of the revival of any proscribed weapons programmes.
Since I reported to the Security Council on 27 January, UNMOVIC has had two further weeks of operational and analytical work in New York and active inspections in Iraq. This brings the total period of inspections so far to 11 weeks. Since then, we have also listened on 5 February to the presentation to the Council by the US Secretary of State and the discussion that followed. Lastly, Dr. ElBaradei and I have held another round of talks in Baghdad with our counterparts and with Vice President Ramadan on 8 and 9 February.
Work in Iraq
Let me begin today's briefing with a short account of the work being performed by UNMOVIC in Iraq.
We have continued to build up our capabilities. The regional office in Mosul is now fully operational at its temporary headquarters. Plans for a regional office at Basra are being developed. Our Hercules L-100 aircraft continues to operate routine flights between Baghdad and Larnaca. The eight helicopters are fully operational. With the resolution of the problems raised by Iraq for the transportation of minders into the no-fly zones, our mobility in these zones has improved. We expect to increase utilization of the helicopters. The number of Iraqi minders during inspections had often reached a ratio as high as five per inspector. During the talks in January in Baghdad, the Iraqi side agreed to keep the ratio to about one to one. The situation has improved.
Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.
The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centres, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites. At all sites which had been inspected before 1998, re-baselining activities were performed. This included the identification of the function and contents of each building, new or old, at a site. It also included verification of previously tagged equipment, application of seals and tags, taking samples and discussions with the site personnel regarding past and present activities. At certain sites, ground-penetrating radar was used to look for underground structures or buried equipment.
Through the inspections conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq, as well as of its missile capability but, as before, we do not know every cave and corner. Inspections are effectively helping to bridge the gap in knowledge that arose due to the absence of inspections between December 1998 and November 2002.
More than 200 chemical and more than 100 biological samples have been collected at different sites. Three-quarters of these have been screened using our own analytical laboratory capabilities at the Baghdad Centre (BOMVIC). The results to date have been consistent with Iraq's declarations.
We have now commenced the process of destroying approximately 50 litres of mustard gas declared by Iraq that was being kept under UNMOVIC seal at the Muthanna site. One-third of the quantity has already been destroyed. The laboratory quantity of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor, which we found at another site, has also been destroyed.
The total number of staff in Iraq now exceeds 250 from 60
countries. This includes about 100 UNMOVIC inspectors, 15 IAEA
inspectors, 50 aircrew, and 65 support staff.
In my 27 January update to the Council, I said that it seemed from our experience that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, most importantly prompt access to all sites and assistance to UNMOVIC in the establishment of the necessary infrastructure. This impression remains, and we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences.
In my last updating, I also said that a decision to cooperate on substance was indispensable in order to bring, through inspection, the disarmament task to completion and to set the monitoring system on a firm course. Such cooperation, as I have noted, requires more than the opening of doors. In the words of resolution 1441 (2002) - it requires immediate, unconditional and active efforts by Iraq to resolve existing questions of disarmament - either by presenting remaining proscribed items and programmes for elimination or by presenting convincing evidence that they have been eliminated. In the current situation, one would expect Iraq to be eager to comply. While we were in Baghdad, we met a delegation from the Government of South Africa. It was there to explain how South Africa gained the confidence of the world in its dismantling of the nuclear weapons programme, by a wholehearted cooperation over two years with IAEA inspectors. I have just learned that Iraq has accepted an offer by South Africa to send a group of experts for further talks.
How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter - and one of great significance - is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.
We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programmes continue to exist. The US Secretary of State presented material in support of this conclusion. Governments have many sources of information that are not available to inspectors. Inspectors, for their part, must base their reports only on evidence, which they can, themselves, examine and present publicly. Without evidence, confidence cannot arise.
In my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 (S/1999/94 and S/1999/356) and should be well known to Iraq. I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles, and said that such issues "deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside ". The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions.
Work in New York
In my January update to the Council, I referred to the Al Samoud 2 and the Al Fatah missiles, reconstituted casting chambers, construction of a missile engine test stand and the import of rocket engines, which were all declared to UNMOVIC by Iraq. I noted that the Al Samoud 2 and the Al Fatah could very well represent prima facie cases of proscribed missile systems, as they had been tested to ranges exceeding the 150-kilometre limit set by the Security Council. I also noted that Iraq had been requested to cease flight tests of these missiles until UNMOVIC completed a technical review.
Earlier this week, UNMOVIC missile experts met for two days with experts from a number of Member States to discuss these items. The experts concluded unanimously that, based on the data provided by Iraq, the two declared variants of the Al Samoud 2 missile were capable of exceeding 150 kilometres in range. This missile system is therefore proscribed for Iraq pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) and the monitoring plan adopted by resolution 715 (1991).
As for the Al Fatah, the experts found that clarification of the missile data supplied by Iraq was required before the capability of the missile system could be fully assessed.
With respect to the casting chambers, I note the following: UNSCOM ordered and supervised the destruction of the casting chambers, which had been intended for use in the production of the proscribed Badr-2000 missile system. Iraq has declared that it has reconstituted these chambers. The experts have confirmed that the reconstituted casting chambers could still be used to produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 kilometres. Accordingly, these chambers remain proscribed.
The experts also studied the data on the missile engine test stand that is nearing completion and have assessed it to be capable of testing missile engines with thrusts greater than that of the SA-2 engine. So far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity.
On the matter of the 380 SA-2 missile engines imported outside of the export/import mechanism and in contravention of paragraph 24 of resolution 687 (1991), UNMOVIC inspectors were informed by Iraq during an official briefing that these engines were intended for use in the Al Samoud 2 missile system, which has now been assessed to be proscribed. Any such engines configured for use in this missile system would also be proscribed.
I intend to communicate these findings to the Government of Iraq.
Meeting in Baghdad
At the meeting in Baghdad on 8 and 9 February, the Iraqi side addressed some of the important outstanding disarmament issues and gave us a number of papers, e.g. regarding anthrax and growth material, the nerve agent VX and missile production. Experts who were present from our side studied the papers during the evening of 8 February and met with Iraqi experts in the morning of 9 February for further clarifications. Although no new evidence was provided in the papers and no open issues were closed through them or the expert discussions, the presentation of the papers could be indicative of a more active attitude focusing on important open issues.
The Iraqi side suggested that the problem of verifying the quantities of anthrax and two VX-precursors, which had been declared unilaterally destroyed, might be tackled through certain technical and analytical methods. Although our experts are still assessing the suggestions, they are not very hopeful that it could prove possible to assess the quantities of material poured into the ground years ago. Documentary evidence and testimony by staff that dealt with the items still appears to be needed.
Not least against this background, a letter of 12 February from Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate may be of relevance. It presents a list of 83 names of participants "in the unilateral destruction in the chemical field, which took place in the summer of 1991". As the absence of adequate evidence of that destruction has been and remains an important reason why quantities of chemicals have been deemed "unaccounted for", the presentation of a list of persons who can be interviewed about the actions appears useful and pertains to cooperation on substance. I trust that the Iraqi side will put together a similar list of names of persons who participated in the unilateral destruction of other proscribed items, notably in the biological field.
The Iraqi side also informed us that the commission, which had been appointed in the wake of our finding 12 empty chemical weapons warheads, had had its mandate expanded to look for any still existing proscribed items. This was welcomed.
A second commission, we learnt, has now been appointed with the task of searching all over Iraq for more documents relevant to the elimination of proscribed items and programmes. It is headed by the former Minister of Oil, General Amer Rashid, and is to have very extensive powers of search in industry, administration and even private houses.
The two commissions could be useful tools to come up with proscribed items to be destroyed and with new documentary evidence. They evidently need to work fast and effectively to convince us, and the world, that it is a serious effort.
The matter of private interviews was discussed at length during our meeting in Baghdad. The Iraqi side confirmed the commitment, which it made to us on 20 January, to encourage persons asked to accept such interviews, whether in or out of Iraq. So far, we have only had interviews in Baghdad. A number of persons have declined to be interviewed, unless they were allowed to have an official present or were allowed to tape the interview. Three persons that had previously refused interviews on UNMOVIC's terms, subsequently accepted such interviews just prior to our talks in Baghdad on 8 and 9 February. These interviews proved informative. No further interviews have since been accepted on our terms. I hope this will change. We feel that interviews conducted without any third party present and without tape recording would provide the greatest credibility.
At the recent meeting in Baghdad, as on several earlier occasions, my colleague Dr. ElBaradei and I have urged the Iraqi side to enact legislation implementing the UN prohibitions regarding weapons of mass destruction. This morning we had a message that a Presidential decree has now been issued containing prohibitions with regard to importation and production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We have not yet had time to study the details of the text of the decree.
Mr. President, I should like to make some comments on the role of intelligence in connection with inspections in Iraq.
A credible inspection regime requires that Iraq provide full cooperation on "process" - granting immediate access everywhere to inspectors - and on substance, providing full declarations supported by relevant information and material and evidence. However, with the closed society in Iraq of today and the history of inspections there, other sources of information, such as defectors and government intelligence agencies are required to aid the inspection process.
I remember myself how, in 1991, several inspections in Iraq, which were based on information received from a Government, helped to disclose important parts of the nuclear weapons programme. It was realized that an international organization authorized to perform inspections anywhere on the ground could make good use of information obtained from governments with eyes in the sky, ears in the ether, access to defectors, and both eyes and ears on the market for weapons-related material. It was understood that the information residing in the intelligence services of governments could come to very active use in the international effort to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This remains true and we have by now a good deal of experience in the matter.
International organizations need to analyse such information critically and especially benefit when it comes from more than one source. The intelligence agencies, for their part, must protect their sources and methods. Those who provide such information must know that it will be kept in strict confidence and be known to very few people. UNMOVIC has achieved good working relations with intelligence agencies and the amount of information provided has been gradually increasing. However, we must recognize that there are limitations and that misinterpretations can occur.
Intelligence information has been useful for UNMOVIC. In one case, it led us to a private home where documents mainly relating to laser enrichment of uranium were found. In other cases, intelligence has led to sites where no proscribed items were found. Even in such cases, however, inspection of these sites were useful in proving the absence of such items and in some cases the presence of other items - conventional munitions. It showed that conventional arms are being moved around the country and that movements are not necessarily related to weapons of mass destruction.
The presentation of intelligence information by the US Secretary of State suggested that Iraq had prepared for inspections by cleaning up sites and removing evidence of proscribed weapons programmes. I would like to comment only on one case, which we are familiar with, namely, the trucks identified by analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect. We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart. The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection. Our reservation on this point does not detract from our appreciation of the briefing.
Yesterday, UNMOVIC informed the Iraqi authorities of its intention to start using the U-2 surveillance aircraft early next week under arrangements similar to those UNSCOM had followed. We are also in the process of working out modalities for the use of the French Mirage aircraft starting late next week and for the drones supplied by the German Government. The offer from Russia of an Antonov aircraft, with night vision capabilities, is a welcome one and is next on our agenda for further improving UNMOVIC's and IAEA's technical capabilities. These developments are in line with suggestions made in a non-paper recently circulated by France, suggesting a further strengthening of the inspection capabilities.
It is our intention to examine the possibilities for surveying ground movements, notably by trucks. In the face of persistent intelligence reports for instance about mobile biological weapons production units, such measures could well increase the effectiveness of inspections.
UNMOVIC is still expanding its capabilities, both in terms of numbers of staff and technical resources. On my way to the recent Baghdad meeting, I stopped in Vienna to meet 60 experts, who had just completed our general training course for inspectors. They came from 22 countries, including Arab countries.
UNMOVIC is not infrequently asked how much more time it needs to complete its task in Iraq. The answer depends upon which task one has in mind - the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and related items and programmes, which were prohibited in 1991 - the disarmament task - or the monitoring that no new proscribed activities occur. The latter task, though not often focused upon, is highly significant - and not controversial. It will require monitoring, which is "ongoing", that is, open-ended until the Council decides otherwise.
By contrast, the task of "disarmament" foreseen in resolution 687 (1991) and the progress on "key remaining disarmament tasks" foreseen in resolution 1284 (1999) as well as the "disarmament obligations", which Iraq was given a "final opportunity to comply with" under resolution 1441 (2002), were always required to be fulfilled in a shorter time span. Regrettably, the high degree of cooperation required of Iraq for disarmament through inspection was not forthcoming in 1991. Despite the elimination, under UNSCOM and IAEA supervision, of large amounts of weapons, weapons-related items and installations over the years, the task remained incomplete, when inspectors were withdrawn almost 8 years later at the end of 1998.
If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament - under resolution 687 (1991) - could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided. Today, three months after the adoption of resolution 1441 (2002), the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short, if "immediate, active and unconditional cooperation" with UNMOVIC and the IAEA were to be forthcoming.
9 February 2003
(Near Verbatim Transcript)
BLIX: Our starting point is that the Security Council to which we report would want to be reassured that no WMD or long-range missiles are in Iraq. Much was destroyed up to '98, but the Security Council noted in 99 that there are unresolved disarmament issues and asked Iraq and us UNMOVIC and the IAEA to resolve them. These unresolved issues do not necessarily mean that there are weapons; it means we don't know, we'd like to know that they don't now exist. Inspections are the means to be used for this purpose and since November 27 last year we have been engaged in accelerated exercise of inspections here and you know it's a fairly muscular force today, with 8 helicopters, etc.
Iraq has been helpful on process. We distinguish between cooperation on process and cooperation on substance. We have noted repeatedly that access has been given to all sites we've wanted to see and this has been prompt in all cases. Not only not just opening doors but also answering, a lot of explaining etc at sites. The general statement would be that cooperation on process has been good.
Cooperation on substance - the resolution of remaining disarmament issues in my view has been less good. And there's a reference recently in a letter from Iraq to the Security Council on what they call "so-called" pending issues and they were referred to as not being of any material significance and that is what the Security Council and the world are interested in.
During these 2 days where we've had talks with Iraqi colleagues I hope I have seen in those days the beginning of taking these remaining disarm issues more seriously.
There are some good developments which I'd like to note from these two days: we have been given, I'm talking for my group (UNMOVIC), a number of papers on specific high profile unresolved issues in response to points that were made at our last visit here that Iraq was ready to amplify and to explain further what they stated in their declaration of December. These papers relate to anthrax issues, missile issues, notably to the al-Fatah and to the al-Samoud, and I should mention in that context that we will have a meeting of experts in New York tomorrow and on Tuesday which will look at these 2 issues, the al-Fatah and the al-Samoud.
We have also had papers submitted to us on VX, the potent chemical nerve agent; these were given to us yesterday and our experts got to work on them through until 2 am this morning and they met with Iraqi counterparts during our morning session today and they have clarified further points and there will be more study.
There have been proposals on the Iraqi side and I think they are constructive. It is to undertake physical tests to measure weapons that they have declared destroyed and have poured into the ground like chorine, anthrax and VX. They were then destroyed and disappeared years ago and the Iraqi side have suggested methods by which you could detect not only if they are qualitatively if they are there, but also have some idea of how much quantity. It remains to be examined how helpful these matters are.
You recall that when we were here last time there had been a finding of 12 empty chemical warheads of 122 mm and a Commission of Inquiry was appointed by Gen. Mohamed Shaker as chairman and they found almost immediately four more warheads. I should comment in the margin that when we made a statement about this we did say that we believed they were stored in new bunkers and therefore we must conclude that they were moved there after 1991. After further study we should correct that statement that where they were stored was not new. I'd like to stand corrected on behalf of my Commission in that regard.
This commission that handled the 122 mm chemical warheads has had its mandate broadened and it has been given authority to look for any proscribed weapons, whether chemical and biological or any other spheres. And we welcome that. I should also say today one of our teams found one more 122 mm empty chemical warhead at Taji and this will evidently contribute to the work of commission that has been appointed here (end of recording).
A new Iraqi Commission has been appointed on finding more documents. We have always requested more docs and evidence. Headed by former minister of oil General Amir Rashid. And it is also authorized to look all over Iraq for docs that may be relevant. We welcome that.
We discussed the list of personnel when we were last here and we were not satisfied and Iraq promised it would be supplemented. We've discussed that today and more particularly what categories we'd like to have. It should be relevant categories.
It was also confirmed as per our joint statement last time that persons asked for interviews here will be encouraged by Iraq authorities. The experience we've had is a mixed bag. Some have insisted on having Iraqi representatives present, others may have insisted on having a tape recorder and there have been those who have accepted being alone with us and without any recorders. We hope this practice will develop into something more relaxed.
Regarding U2 planes; we have discussed our need for aerial surveillance. As you know we receive commercial satellite images as well as some from member states. This is a running operation and we also have discussed with the Iraqi authorities that we will have German drones that will assist us in the field and the Germans are already here. In any case there's no difficulty raised by Iraqi side on the drones. However we'll be discussing we'd like to arrange to have U2 planes for the highest layer and Mirage planes. We'd also like to have a Russian Antonov plane with night vision. That has been discussed with the Iraqi side and we are promised a reply by Friday. Also discussed was legislation implementing the Security Council's resolution and we hope for response from the Iraqi Government. But we have no date for that.
ElBaradei: We came here to this meeting with three basic objectives. The first is to ensure that we are able to make use of full authority provided in the Security Council resolution. We explained to our Iraqi counterpart that the more intrusive our inspections are, the better assurance we can create for them. The second objective was to ensure fuller Iraqi cooperation. I have been saying that Iraq should show full and active cooperation. I have been saying we should see Iraqis eager to comply and not be dragged into compliance. The third objective was to see to it that there is some movement on the remaining issues, chemical, biological and missile areas. As Hans just mentioned, large quantities have been destroyed since '98. There remain some outstanding issues and those have to be taken seriously and brought to closure. So there are the three objectives: full Iraqi cooperation, full inspection, more cooperation on remaining disarmament issues. Though much was destroyed, more still remains. I think we made good progress in all these issues. I am seeing a beginning of a change of heart on the part of Iraq. We have seen eagerness by them to move on these issues.
If I speak on the nuclear side, which is my responsibility, we had a good technical meeting today, where we discussed a number of issues relevant to our work. We start from the premise that in '98 we eliminated Iraq's nuclear program. In the nuclear area we wanted to see what happened in the intervening four years. We have been looking into reports, which came to our knowledge with regard to the importation of aluminum tubes, use of high explosives, import of magnets and reports again of possible effort to import uranium. These are issues we have discussed today during the technical meeting. I think we are moving on these issues and hope we will continue to move forward on these issues.
Our task is analogous to four horses. We have four files with different timelines: the nuclear, the chemical, the biological, and the missile. We have to move on all at the same time. One may cross the finish line before the other, but all should be moving in that direction. Within the nuclear field we have different techniques to move forward. (It) also depends on Iraqi cooperation. (It) also depends on a full and intrusive inspection system, and on that, we had an important issue of interviews, the ability to do private interviews. We had two interviews, private, yesterday and today, in nuclear. I hope this pattern will continue--to do free interviews both inside and outside Iraq. That, I think, is an important element of creating confidence, (so) that we have a full and comprehensive picture on Iraqi nuclear activities. I think Dr. Blix mentioned the question of surveillance. UNMOVIC provides logistics but we also make use of such equipment, and it is very important to us. On this, Hans mentioned we are getting help from other States. We told Iraq that at this crucial time we need 100 per cent Iraqi cooperation, (and that they need) to come forward on all demands required by the Security Council and by us, as agents of the Security Council.
The final question is the enactment of a law (prohibiting weapons of mass destruction). They assured us this is moving. The two important remaining issues for us are the interviews and the surveillance. We are moving on one, the interviews, and we hope by Friday to move on the question of surveillance planes, again to show the Security Council that full cooperation and transparent system are in place.
I see a beginning of a change of heart and a beginning of a different attitude. We will be testing this new attitude in the next few days and weeks. And we hope we get what we have been asking for and will be able to satisfy the Security Council that inspections work, that our inspection are making progress, and that inspections can be in fact an alternative to war, which is something we both believe in.
Q&A - excerpts
Q: Have you seen any drastic change in the Iraqi attitude?
Blix: We have registered the beginning of a new attitude, but there remains a good deal to do. We were given further papers. It was high time that this happened.
Q: Will inspectors' work continue?
ElBaradei: We are going to continue to operate. I would like to see quick progress. Something spectacular must happen, in all areas in the next few days.
Blix: Different clocks are ticking under Council resolutions 1284 and 1441. We have asked for immediate action and hope to have as much cooperation from Iraq as possible. I would much prefer to see inspections to resume than some other evolution. It will be tragic indeed if we don't succeed. So, we are doing our best.
ElBaradei: As long as good cooperation is registered, the Security Council may be willing to give us more time.
Q: Did you see a drastic change, a breakthrough? Do you have plans to meet the President?
Blix: I wouldn't call it a breakthrough. We are more cautious in our assessments. We are beginning to see some positive elements. We welcome this. But "breakthrough" is too strong a word to use.
Elbaradei: On your second question, we have met today with Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan. We did not meet with the President. We made it very clear that it is very important that clear guidance from the top leadership to all Iraqi national citizens go with clear instruction that full cooperation, full transparency is necessary. Because, as I said, the more Iraq cooperates, the more credibility we can generate through inspections and the quicker result. Interview is a clear indication. That is an area we would like Iraq to encourage the scientists. Tell them that it is in Iraq's national interest to come forward for free private interviews to satisfy us that nothing is being hidden, to corroborate information we have.
Q: Do the documents Iraq handed over go as far as to answer all questions on unaccounted weapons?
Blix: They do not go that far. We have to study them more carefully. Experts see a good sign but require more documents.
ElBaradei: They showed cooperation on documents. I hope they will be comprehensive.
Q: How much documents did you receive? Why now?
Blix: These papers were written now to amplify their positions and are not evidence. These are not original but one. Interviews become more important.
Q: Are you going to find a smoking gun for drastic change?
Blix: Smoking gun is different from drastic change. We have seen positive signs. We are not asserting that there are weapons of mass destruction. We are also not excluding that there are not such weapons.
ElBaradei: Change of heart is a process.
Blix: My inspectors will not stand on smoking guns if they are found.
Q: How do you assess US Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation?
Blix: We will assess it. Some are known; some are not known. We are not here to address his presentation in detail.
ElBaradei: This is an important part of our work. Supply of information from Member States is important.
Blix: Intelligence, "actionable" intelligence, is useful. We can send our inspectors anywhere. But we are interested in sites. We cannot do analysis of telephone conversations.
Q: Is the change of heart genuine?
Blix: We need a political declaration at the highest political level.
ElBaradei: Political statements must be translated into action.
Q: When are you going to take Iraqi scientists out of Iraq?
Blix: This is part of the question of private interviews. We may welcome some small interviews. We want Iraq to encourage such interviews.
Q: Are you making arrangements to take a family out?
Blix: We are authorized to take out families under Security Council resolution 1441.
Q: Is the game over, as UN President Bush said?
Bilx: We are still in the game.
Q (in Arabic)
ElBaradei: (answer in Arabic). We hope we can solve through inspections. We need actionable information. The more we have such information, the better.
Q: Regarding the Powell presentation, have you seen deceptions? Have you discussed the presentation with Iraqis?
Blix: Not at the conference table, but discussed the telephone conversation section. We can judge with satellite images and by visiting sites. We have had discussions with American colleagues. No comments were made public. I have asked New York people to analyze. It is too early to make comments.
Q: U-2 flights?
Blix: Iraq expressed various reasons against our flights, including No-Fly-Zones. We simply stated that resolution 1441 allows us to operate these flights under conditions similar to those of UNSCOM days
Q: Are you going to call for an end to US and British bombings in the No-Fly-Zones?
Blix: We have nothing to do with No-Fly-Zones.
Q: Did Colin Powell violate the Council resolution by not informing you?
Blix: Member States are recommended to provide information. We understand why some Member States are reluctant to provide intelligence and concerned about leakage. We do not believe our information leaks.
Q: Do you feel you should give more time to Iraqis on anthrax, VX and missiles? On Friday, you report to the Security Council. Do you support the game to continue?
Blix: Inspections can be undertaken with full Iraqi cooperation. We can finish (our work) under 1284 within a year. I believe that is still the case. If not, we cannot.
Q: Do you support the French-German proposal to deploy a peacekeeping operation?
Blix: This is a rumor.
Q: Are you now more optimistic?
ElBaradei: We are leaving with a sense of more cautious optimism.
Blix: I am also cautious. The proof of pudding is in eating.
Q: How do you assess the Iraqi leadership's cooperation?
ElBaradei: The Vice-President assured us Iraq would fully cooperate.
Elbaradei: There is no deadline in Security Council Resolutions. However, we are aware the international community is impatient. I would like to see quick progress. Something spectacular has to happen and we would like to see this in the next days and weeks.
Blix: Regarding resolutions, we have different timeframes under different resolutions. My organization (UNMOVIC) falls under resolution 1284 of '99 that tells us to submit work programme to the Security Council and identify key remaining disarmament issues 60 days after we start work. Under that, we report on the first of March and at the end of March. 1441 has a more impatient pace. It may be that we get a new resolution.
ElBaradei: The ball is in Iraq's court. If we see quick action, then we will be given time we need. As long as we register good progress, the Security Council will continue to allow inspections. We are not looking for a smoking gun. What we are looking for is a sustained pattern of cooperation on the part of Iraq, by which we can credibly report to the Security Council that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Again the change of heart is not an overnight thing. And what we have seen today hopefully represents the twilight of that process and we would like to test it and see as we go forward. It's three parts of a triangle: intrusive inspections; Iraqi cooperation, and as much as intelligence that can get from Member States.
AN UPDATE ON INSPECTION
The governing Security Council resolutions
The resolution adopted by the Security Council on Iraq in November last year asks UNMOVIC and the IAEA to "update" the Council 60 days after the resumption of inspections. This is today. The updating, it seems, forms part of an assessment by the Council and its Members of the results, so far, of the inspections and of their role as a means to achieve verifiable disarmament in Iraq.
As this is an open meeting of the Council, it may be appropriate
briefly to provide some background for a better understanding
of where we stand today.
I begin by recalling that inspections as a part of a disarmament process in Iraq started in 1991, immediately after the Gulf War. They went on for eight years until December 1998, when inspectors were withdrawn. Thereafter, for nearly four years there were no inspections. They were resumed only at the end of November last year.
While the fundamental aim of inspections in Iraq has always been to verify disarmament, the successive resolutions adopted by the Council over the years have varied somewhat in emphasis and approach.
In 1991, resolution 687 (1991), adopted unanimously as a part of the cease-fire after the Gulf War, had five major elements. The three first related to disarmament. They called for :
· declarations by Iraq of its programmes of weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles;
· verification of the declarations through UNSCOM and the IAEA;
· supervision by these organizations of the destruction or the elimination of proscribed programmes and items.
After the completion of the disarmament :
· the Council would have authority to proceed to a lifting of the sanctions (economic restrictions); and
· the inspecting organizations would move to long-term ongoing monitoring and verification.
Resolution 687 (1991), like the subsequent resolutions I shall refer to, required cooperation by Iraq but such was often withheld or given grudgingly. Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance - not even today - of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.
As we know, the twin operation 'declare and verify', which was prescribed in resolution 687 (1991), too often turned into a game of 'hide and seek'. Rather than just verifying declarations and supporting evidence, the two inspecting organizations found themselves engaged in efforts to map the weapons programmes and to search for evidence through inspections, interviews, seminars, inquiries with suppliers and intelligence organizations. As a result, the disarmament phase was not completed in the short time expected. Sanctions remained and took a severe toll until Iraq accepted the Oil for Food Programme and the gradual development of that programme mitigated the effects of the sanctions.
The implementation of resolution 687 (1991) nevertheless brought about considerable disarmament results. It has been recognized that more weapons of mass destruction were destroyed under this resolution than were destroyed during the Gulf War: large quantities of chemical weapons were destroyed under UNSCOM supervision before 1994. While Iraq claims - with little evidence - that it destroyed all biological weapons unilaterally in 1991, it is certain that UNSCOM destroyed large biological weapons production facilities in 1996. The large nuclear infrastructure was destroyed and the fissionable material was removed from Iraq by the IAEA.
One of three important questions before us today is how much might remain undeclared and intact from before 1991; and, possibly, thereafter; the second question is what, if anything, was illegally produced or procured after 1998, when the inspectors left; and the third question is how it can be prevented that any weapons of mass destruction be produced or procured in the future.
In December 1999 - after one year without inspections in Iraq - resolution 1284 (1999) was adopted by the Council with 4 abstentions. Supplementing the basic resolutions of 1991 and following years, it provided Iraq with a somewhat less ambitious approach: in return for "cooperation in all respects" for a specified period of time, including progress in the resolution of "key remaining disarmament tasks", it opened the possibility, not for the lifting, but the suspension of sanctions.
For nearly three years, Iraq refused to accept any inspections by UNMOVIC. It was only after appeals by the Secretary-General and Arab States and pressure by the United States and other Member States, that Iraq declared on 16 September last year that it would again accept inspections without conditions.
Resolution 1441 (2002) was adopted on 8 November last year and emphatically reaffirmed the demand on Iraq to cooperate. It required this cooperation to be immediate, unconditional and active. The resolution contained many provisions, which we welcome as enhancing and strengthening the inspection regime. The unanimity by which it was adopted sent a powerful signal that the Council was of one mind in creating a last opportunity for peaceful disarmament in Iraq through inspection.
UNMOVIC shares the sense of urgency felt by the Council to use inspection as a path to attain, within a reasonable time, verifiable disarmament of Iraq. Under the resolutions I have cited, it would be followed by monitoring for such time as the Council feels would be required. The resolutions also point to a zone free of weapons of mass destruction as the ultimate goal.
As a subsidiary body of the Council, UNMOVIC is fully aware of and appreciates the close attention, which the Council devotes to the inspections in Iraq. While today's "updating" is foreseen in resolution 1441 (2002), the Council can and does call for additional briefings whenever it wishes. One was held on 19 January and a further such briefing is tentatively set for 14 February.
I turn now to the key requirement of cooperation and Iraq's response to it. Cooperation might be said to relate to both substance and process. It would appear from our experience so far that Iraq has decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, notably access. A similar decision is indispensable to provide cooperation on substance in order to bring the disarmament task to completion through the peaceful process of inspection and to bring the monitoring task on a firm course. An initial minor step would be to adopt the long-overdue legislation required by the resolutions.
I shall deal first with cooperation on process.
Cooperation on process
It has regard to the procedures, mechanisms, infrastructure and practical arrangements to pursue inspections and seek verifiable disarmament. While inspection is not built on the premise of confidence but may lead to confidence if it is successful, there must nevertheless be a measure of mutual confidence from the very beginning in running the operation of inspection.
Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable.
Our inspections have included universities, military bases,
presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also
taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas
day and New Years day. These inspections have been conducted
in the same manner as all other inspections. We seek to be both
effective and correct.
While we now have the technical capability to send a U-2 plane placed at our disposal for aerial imagery and for surveillance during inspections and have informed Iraq that we planned to do so, Iraq has refused to guarantee its safety, unless a number of conditions are fulfilled. As these conditions went beyond what is stipulated in resolution 1441 (2002) and what was practiced by UNSCOM and Iraq in the past, we note that Iraq is not so far complying with our request. I hope this attitude will change.
Another air operation problem - which was solved during our recent talks in Baghdad - concerned the use of helicopters flying into the no-fly zones. Iraq had insisted on sending helicopters of their own to accompany ours. This would have raised a safety problem. The matter was solved by an offer on our part to take the accompanying Iraq minders in our helicopters to the sites, an arrangement that had been practiced by UNSCOM in the past.
I am obliged to note some recent disturbing incidents and harassment. For instance, for some time farfetched allegations have been made publicly that questions posed by inspectors were of intelligence character. While I might not defend every question that inspectors might have asked, Iraq knows that they do not serve intelligence purposes and Iraq should not say so.
On a number of occasions, demonstrations have taken place in front of our offices and at inspection sites.
The other day, a sightseeing excursion by five inspectors to a mosque was followed by an unwarranted public outburst. The inspectors went without any UN insignia and were welcomed in the kind manner that is characteristic of the normal Iraqi attitude to foreigners. They took off their shoes and were taken around. They asked perfectly innocent questions and parted with the invitation to come again.
Shortly thereafter, we receive protests from the Iraqi authorities about an unannounced inspection and about questions not relevant to weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, they were not. Demonstrations and outbursts of this kind are unlikely to occur in Iraq without initiative or encouragement from the authorities. We must ask ourselves what the motives may be for these events. They do not facilitate an already difficult job, in which we try to be effective, professional and, at the same time, correct. Where our Iraqi counterparts have some complaint they can take it up in a calmer and less unpleasant manner.
Cooperation on substance
The substantive cooperation required relates above all to the obligation of Iraq to declare all programmes of weapons of mass destruction and either to present items and activities for elimination or else to provide evidence supporting the conclusion that nothing proscribed remains.
Paragraph 9 of resolution 1441 (2002) states that this cooperation shall be "active". It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of "catch as catch can". Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items.
The declaration of 7 December
On 7 December 2002, Iraq submitted a declaration of some 12,000 pages in response to paragraph 3 of resolution 1441 (2002) and within the time stipulated by the Security Council. In the fields of missiles and biotechnology, the declaration contains a good deal of new material and information covering the period from 1998 and onward. This is welcome.
One might have expected that in preparing the Declaration, Iraq would have tried to respond to, clarify and submit supporting evidence regarding the many open disarmament issues, which the Iraqi side should be familiar with from the UNSCOM document S/1999/94 of January1999 and the so-called Amorim Report of March 1999 (S/1999/356). These are questions which UNMOVIC, governments and independent commentators have often cited.
While UNMOVIC has been preparing its own list of current "unresolved disarmament issues" and "key remaining disarmament tasks" in response to requirements in resolution 1284 (1999), we find the issues listed in the two reports as unresolved, professionally justified. These reports do not contend that weapons of mass destruction remain in Iraq, but nor do they exclude that possibility. They point to lack of evidence and inconsistencies, which raise question marks, which must be straightened out, if weapons dossiers are to be closed and confidence is to arise.
They deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside as evil machinations of UNSCOM. Regrettably, the 12,000 page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that would eliminate the questions or reduce their number. Even Iraq's letter sent in response to our recent discussions in Baghdad to the President of the Security Council on 24 January does not lead us to the resolution of these issues.
I shall only give some examples of issues and questions that need to be answered and I turn first to the sector of chemical weapons.
The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed.
Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tonnes and that the quality was poor and the product unstable. Consequently, it was said, that the agent was never weaponised. Iraq said that the small quantity of agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.
UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared.
There are also indications that the agent was weaponised. In addition, there are questions to be answered concerning the fate of the VX precursor chemicals, which Iraq states were lost during bombing in the Gulf War or were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.
I would now like to turn to the so-called "Air Force
document" that I have discussed with the Council before.
This document was originally found by an UNSCOM inspector in
a safe in Iraqi Air Force Headquarters in 1998 and taken from
her by Iraqi minders. It gives an account of the expenditure
of bombs, including chemical bombs, by Iraq in the Iraq-Iran
War. I am encouraged by the fact that Iraq has now provided this
document to UNMOVIC.
The discovery of a number of 122 mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions.
The investigation of these rockets is still proceeding. Iraq states that they were overlooked from 1991 from a batch of some 2,000 that were stored there during the Gulf War. This could be the case. They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.
The finding of the rockets shows that Iraq needs to make more effort to ensure that its declaration is currently accurate. During my recent discussions in Baghdad, Iraq declared that it would make new efforts in this regard and had set up a committee of investigation. Since then it has reported that it has found a further 4 chemical rockets at a storage depot in Al Taji.
I might further mention that inspectors have found at another site a laboratory quantity of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor.
Whilst I am addressing chemical issues, I should mention a matter, which I reported on 19 December 2002, concerning equipment at a civilian chemical plant at Al Fallujah. Iraq has declared that it had repaired chemical processing equipment previously destroyed under UNSCOM supervision, and had installed it at Fallujah for the production of chlorine and phenols. We have inspected this equipment and are conducting a detailed technical evaluation of it. On completion, we will decide whether this and other equipment that has been recovered by Iraq should be destroyed.
I have mentioned the issue of anthrax to the Council on previous occasions and I come back to it as it is an important one.
Iraq has declared that it produced about 8,500 litres of this biological warfare agent, which it states it unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. Iraq has provided little evidence for this production and no convincing evidence for its destruction.
There are strong indications that Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared, and that at least some of this was retained after the declared destruction date. It might still exist. Either it should be found and be destroyed under UNMOVIC supervision or else convincing evidence should be produced to show that it was, indeed, destroyed in 1991.
As I reported to the Council on 19 December last year, Iraq did not declare a significant quantity, some 650 kg, of bacterial growth media, which was acknowledged as imported in Iraq's submission to the Amorim panel in February 1999. As part of its 7 December 2002 declaration, Iraq resubmitted the Amorim panel document, but the table showing this particular import of media was not included. The absence of this table would appear to be deliberate as the pages of the resubmitted document were renumbered.
In the letter of 24 January to the President of the Council, Iraq's Foreign Minister stated that "all imported quantities of growth media were declared". This is not evidence. I note that the quantity of media involved would suffice to produce, for example, about 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax.
I turn now to the missile sector. There remain significant questions as to whether Iraq retained SCUD-type missiles after the Gulf War. Iraq declared the consumption of a number of SCUD missiles as targets in the development of an anti-ballistic missile defence system during the 1980s. Yet no technical information has been produced about that programme or data on the consumption of the missiles.
There has been a range of developments in the missile field during the past four years presented by Iraq as non-proscribed activities. We are trying to gather a clear understanding of them through inspections and on-site discussions.
Two projects in particular stand out. They are the development of a liquid-fuelled missile named the Al Samoud 2, and a solid propellant missile, called the Al Fatah. Both missiles have been tested to a range in excess of the permitted range of 150 km, with the Al Samoud 2 being tested to a maximum of 183 km and the Al Fatah to 161 km. Some of both types of missiles have already been provided to the Iraqi Armed Forces even though it is stated that they are still undergoing development.
The Al Samoud's diameter was increased from an earlier version to the present 760 mm. This modification was made despite a 1994 letter from the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM directing Iraq to limit its missile diameters to less than 600 mm. Furthermore, a November 1997 letter from the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM to Iraq prohibited the use of engines from certain surface-to-air missiles for the use in ballistic missiles.
During my recent meeting in Baghdad, we were briefed on these two programmes. We were told that the final range for both systems would be less than the permitted maximum range of 150 km.
These missiles might well represent prima facie cases of proscribed systems. The test ranges in excess of 150 km are significant, but some further technical considerations need to be made, before we reach a conclusion on this issue. In the mean time, we have asked Iraq to cease flight tests of both missiles.
In addition, Iraq has refurbished its missile production infrastructure. In particular, Iraq reconstituted a number of casting chambers, which had previously been destroyed under UNSCOM supervision. They had been used in the production of solid-fuel missiles. Whatever missile system these chambers are intended for, they could produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 km.
Also associated with these missiles and related developments is the import, which has been taking place during the last few years, of a number of items despite the sanctions, including as late as December 2002. Foremost amongst these is the import of 380 rocket engines which may be used for the Al Samoud 2.
Iraq also declared the recent import of chemicals used in propellants, test instrumentation and, guidance and control systems. These items may well be for proscribed purposes. That is yet to be determined. What is clear is that they were illegally brought into Iraq, that is, Iraq or some company in Iraq, circumvented the restrictions imposed by various resolutions.
I have touched upon some of the disarmament issues that remain open and that need to be answered if dossiers are to be closed and confidence is to arise. Which are the means at the disposal of Iraq to answer these questions? I have pointed to some during my presentation of the issues. Let me be a little more systematic. Our Iraqi counterparts are fond of saying that there are no proscribed items and if no evidence is presented to the contrary they should have the benefit of the doubt, be presumed innocent. UNMOVIC, for its part, is not presuming that there are proscribed items and activities in Iraq, but nor is it - or I think anyone else after the inspections between 1991 and 1998 - presuming the opposite, that no such items and activities exist in Iraq. Presumptions do not solve the problem. Evidence and full transparency may help. Let me be specific.
Find the items and activities
Information provided by Member States tells us about the movement and concealment of missiles and chemical weapons and mobile units for biological weapons production. We shall certainly follow up any credible leads given to us and report what we might find as well as any denial of access.
So far we have reported on the recent find of a small number of empty 122 mm warheads for chemical weapons. Iraq declared that it appointed a commission of inquiry to look for more. Fine. Why not extend the search to other items? Declare what may be found and destroy it under our supervision?
When we have urged our Iraqi counterparts to present more evidence, we have all too often met the response that there are no more documents. All existing relevant documents have been presented, we are told. All documents relating to the biological weapons programme were destroyed together with the weapons.
However, Iraq has all the archives of the Government and its various departments, institutions and mechanisms. It should have budgetary documents, requests for funds and reports on how they have been used. It should also have letters of credit and bills of lading, reports on production and losses of material.
In response to a recent UNMOVIC request for a number of specific documents, the only new documents Iraq provided was a ledger of 193 pages which Iraq stated included all imports from 1983 to 1990 by the Technical and Scientific Importation Division, the importing authority for the biological weapons programme. Potentially, it might help to clear some open issues.
The recent inspection find in the private home of a scientist of a box of some 3,000 pages of documents, much of it relating to the laser enrichment of uranium support a concern that has long existed that documents might be distributed to the homes of private individuals. This interpretation is refuted by the Iraqi side, which claims that research staff sometimes may bring home papers from their work places. On our side, we cannot help but think that the case might not be isolated and that such placements of documents is deliberate to make discovery difficult and to seek to shield documents by placing them in private homes.
Any further sign of the concealment of documents would be serious. The Iraqi side committed itself at our recent talks to encourage persons to accept access also to private sites. There can be no sanctuaries for proscribed items, activities or documents. A denial of prompt access to any site would be a very serious matter.
Find persons to give credible information: a list of personnel
When Iraq claims that tangible evidence in the form of documents is not available, it ought at least to find individuals, engineers, scientists and managers to testify about their experience. Large weapons programmes are moved and managed by people. Interviews with individuals who may have worked in programmes in the past may fill blank spots in our knowledge and understanding. It could also be useful to learn that they are now employed in peaceful sectors. These were the reasons why UNMOVIC asked for a list of such persons, in accordance with resolution 1441.
Some 400 names for all biological and chemical weapons programmes as well as their missile programmes were provided by the Iraqi side. This can be compared to over 3,500 names of people associated with those past weapons programmes that UNSCOM either interviewed in the 1990s or knew from documents and other sources. At my recent meeting in Baghdad, the Iraqi side committed itself to supplementing the list and some 80 additional names have been provided.
Allow information through credible interviews
In the past, much valuable information came from interviews. There were also cases in which the interviewee was clearly intimidated by the presence of and interruption by Iraqi officials. This was the background of resolution 1441's provision for a right for UNMOVIC and the IAEA to hold private interviews "in the mode or location" of our choice, in Baghdad or even abroad.
To date, 11 individuals were asked for interviews in Baghdad by us. The replies have invariably been that the individual will only speak at Iraq's monitoring directorate or, at any rate, in the presence of an Iraqi official. This could be due to a wish on the part of the invited to have evidence that they have not said anything that the authorities did not wish them to say. At our recent talks in Baghdad, the Iraqi side committed itself to encourage persons to accept interviews "in private", that is to say alone with us. Despite this, the pattern has not changed. However, we hope that with further encouragement from the authorities, knowledgeable individuals will accept private interviews, in Baghdad or abroad.
In the past two months, UNMOVIC has built-up its capabilities in Iraq from nothing to 260 staff members from 60 countries. This includes approximately 100 UNMOVIC inspectors, 60 air operations staff, as well as security personnel, communications, translation and interpretation staff, medical support, and other services at our Baghdad office and Mosul field office. All serve the United Nations and report to no one else. Furthermore, our roster of inspectors will continue to grow as our training programme continues - even at this moment we have a training course in session in Vienna. At the end of that course, we shall have a roster of about 350 qualified experts from which to draw inspectors.
A team supplied by the Swiss Government is refurbishing our offices in Baghdad, which had been empty for four years. The Government of New Zealand has contributed both a medical team and a communications team. The German Government will contribute unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and a group of specialists to operate them for us within Iraq. The Government of Cyprus has kindly allowed us to set up a Field Office in Larnaca. All these contributions have been of assistance in quickly starting up our inspections and enhancing our capabilities. So has help from the UN in New York and from sister organizations in Baghdad.
In the past two months during which we have built-up our presence in Iraq, we have conducted about 300 inspections to more than 230 different sites. Of these, more than 20 were sites that had not been inspected before. By the end of December, UNMOVIC began using helicopters both for the transport of inspectors and for actual inspection work. We now have eight helicopters. They have already proved invaluable in helping to "freeze" large sites by observing the movement of traffic in and around the area.
Setting up a field office in Mosul has facilitated rapid inspections of sites in northern Iraq. We plan to establish soon a second field office in the Basra area, where we have already inspected a number of sites.
We have now an inspection apparatus that permits us to send multiple inspection teams every day all over Iraq, by road or by air. Let me end by simply noting that that capability which has been built-up in a short time and which is now operating, is at the disposal of the Security Council.
The meeting between the Iraqi side and UNMOVIC and the IAEA was devoted to stocktaking of the inspections, which have taken place and resolving issues that have come up. The following was noted:
1. Access has been obtained to all sites. This will continue. The Iraqi side will encourage persons to accept access also to private sites.
2. There has been helpful assistance in the logistic build-up
of the inspection infrastructure, e.g at the Mosul office. This
will continue, e.g regarding a field office in Basrah.
3. After the find of some empty 122mm chemical munitions at
Al Ukhaidhir stores, the Iraqi side has appointed a team to undertake
an investigation and comprehensive search to look for similar
cases at all locations. One find of four more units was already
reported at Al Taji munitions stores. The final results will
4. A response was given to an UNMOVIC request for a number
of documents. Some were handed over and clarifications were given
5. The list of persons engaged in the various disciplines
will be supplemented in accordance with advice from UNMOVIC and
6. The declaration given on 7 December by Iraq was discussed.
Iraq expressed a readiness to respond to questions raised in
connection with the declaration and discuss such questions.
7. Persons asked for interviews in private will be encouraged
to accept this.
8. UNMOVIC and the IAEA agreed that their helicopters will
take an appropriate number of minders on board, as necessary.
9. Iraq will enact national legislation as soon as possible
regarding proscribed activities.
10. Iraq agreed to continue technical discussions with the IAEA to clarify issues, regarding aluminum tubes, alleged uranium importation and the use of high explosives, as well as other outstanding issues.
Introduction: on the pattern of reporting
I appreciate the opportunity to brief the Council informally on the issue of inspections in Iraq and our work in New York.
As I understand it, today's meeting is intended to allow Members, who have now had the opportunity to examine Iraq's Declaration, to comment upon it. On behalf of UNMOVIC, I shall make some further comments on the Declaration, on the inspections in Iraq and on the build-up, which is taking place.
As I see it, my briefing today and the "updating" due on 27 January are part of a more frequent reporting that is needed after the adoption of resolution 1441 (2002) and the resumption of inspections. UNMOVIC's next quarterly report to the Council is not due until 1 March but new "updates" can obviously be given whenever the Council wishes. Should some inspection event call for an immediate report to the Council, I would, of course, ask permission to present it, as allowed for in paragraph 11 of resolution 1441 (2002).
Role and results of the current inspections
In their very active media exposure, Iraqi officials have
sought to construe the prompt access, which has been given to
inspection teams and the fact that no weapons of mass destruction
or other proscribed items have been found, as confirmation of
their assertion that there are no weapons of mass destruction
or other proscribed items in Iraq. The matter is not, of course,
On the other hand, the absence of dramatic finds is no indication that the inspections have been futile. After four years without international inspections a steadily increasing number of industrial, administrative, military, scientific and research sites are again being opened for inspections under the authority of the Security Council. The transparency is increasing - but does not exclude dark corners or caves.
The awareness in Iraq that industrial facilities, military installations, public or private offices and dwellings, may be the subject of no-notice inspection is further likely to deter possible efforts to hide items or activities or, at the very least, to make such action much more difficult. This is no small gain. Saying this is in no way to ignore the special value of inspections directed to sites, which have been indicated by fresh and reliable intelligence.
Let me conclude: the prompt access/open doors policy that has been pursued so far by Iraq vis-à-vis the inspectors is an indispensable element of transparency in a process that aims at securing disarmament by peaceful means. However, prompt access is by no means sufficient to give confidence that nothing is hidden in a large country with an earlier record of avoiding disclosures. Iraq is very familiar with the fact that only declarations supported by evidence, will give confidence about the elimination of weapons. In this respect we have not so far made progress.
Unresolved disarmament issues remain
As I mentioned on 19 December, the UNSCOM document S/1999/94 and the Amorim Report (S/1999/356) list a number of issues on which doubts exist as to whether all proscribed items or activities had been eliminated. UNMOVIC is not bound by every conclusion in these reports, but they are, in our view, professionally written. They give Iraq a clear idea of questions, which need to be answered and of doubts, which must be dispelled by very active efforts. These doubts will not disappear by the resubmission of old documents or by conversations between teams of experts.
The overall impression, which I reported to the Council on
19 December and which remains after some weeks of examination
of the Declaration, is that it is rich in volume but poor in
new information about weapons issues and practically devoid of
new evidence on such issues. It appears that the vast majority
of the supporting documents are the same as those provided in
previous "Full, Final and Complete Declarations" or
obtained by UNSCOM through the inspection process. Those documents
that are new do not seem to contribute to the resolution of outstanding
I have not asserted on behalf of UNMOVIC that proscribed items or activities exist in Iraq, but if they do, Iraq should present them and then eliminate them in our presence. There is still time for it.
If evidence is not presented, which gives a high degree of assurance, there is no way the inspectors can close a file by simply invoking a precept that Iraq cannot prove the negative. In such cases, regrettably, they must conclude, as they have done in the past, that the absence of the particular item is not assured.
The weapons and missile dossiers in the light of the Declaration and recent inspections
On 19 December, I made a number of preliminary observations on various points covered in the Declaration, e.g. on the production and destruction of anthrax, on evidence about the import of bacterial growth media, and on the 81 mm aluminium tubes. I shall not revert to these issues today, but I note that these questions still remain.
Comparisons between the Iraqi Declaration and earlier full, final and complete declarations have shown several cases of inconsistencies in terms of numbers declared.
The so-called Air Force document, which was provided separately from the Declaration, relates to the consumption of chemical munitions in the Iraq/Iran war. It was hoped that the submission of this document would help verify material balances regarding special munitions. After having analysed the document, we have concluded that it will in fact not contribute to resolving this issue. There remains therefore, a significant discrepancy concerning the numbers of special munitions.
I will also note that Iraq, in the Declaration, has declared the import of missile engines and raw material for the production of solid missile fuel. This import has taken place in violation of the relevant resolutions regulating import and export to Iraq. Inspections have confirmed the presence of a relatively large number of missile engines, some imported as late as 2002. We have yet to determine the significance of these illegal imports relating to the specific WMD-mandate of UNMOVIC.
Another outstanding issue regards the chemical agent VX. We have found no additional information in the Declaration that would help to resolve this issue. Instead, it contains information that is contradicted by documents previously found by UNSCOM. Iraq will have to further clarify the matter.
Lists of Iraqi personnel engaged in proscribed programmes
As I reported to you on 19 December, UNMOVIC asked Iraq, on the basis of paragraph 7 of resolution 1441 (2002), to provide the names of all personnel currently or formerly associated with some aspects of Iraq's programme of weapons of mass destruction.
A list was submitted to us before the end of last year as requested. It consisted of 117 persons for the chemical sector, 120 for the biological sector and 156 persons for the missile sector. This is an inadequate response. The lists do not even comprise all those who have been previously listed in Iraq's Full, Final and Complete Declarations, besides the numerous Iraqi personnel that are known from UNSCOM interviews and found in Iraqi documents, to have participated in past weapons programmes.
We do not feel that the Iraqi side has made a serious effort to respond to the request we made. We shall, therefore, ask for supplementary information. If the persons who were listed as once engaged in a particular banned weapons programmes can be shown through further information by Iraq or, in some cases, through interviews, to have moved to non-proscribed areas of work, this could actually bring a measure of support to the assertion that the weapons programme had ceased. The efforts we make are thus very far from the spy operation, which some Iraqi comments have talked about. Rather they seek to verify that staff capable - shall we say - of dual-use, are in peaceful employment.
Expansion and consolidation of inspection activities in Iraq
Let me conclude with some information on the expansion and consolidation of our inspection activities in Iraq.
Inspections resumed on 27 November 2002 and since then, almost everyday, including Christmas and New Year, inspection teams have been out in the field.
There are presently about 100 UNMOVIC inspectors and 58 support staff in Iraq. In addition, there are 49 air crew for the fixed-wing and helicopter operations.
One hundred and fifty inspections of 127 sites have taken place up to 8 January 2003.
Conditions for the work of inspectors at BOMVIC and in the field have improved considerably since the initial period, including the availability of personal computers and transport vehicles. Eight helicopters are now in Baghdad and the first helicopter flight in support of inspections took place on 5 January. Helicopters are planned to be used routinely in inspection work, both in the fly and the so-called "no-fly zone". UNMOVIC is also planning to commence high-altitude surveillance over Iraq in the near future, in accordance with the mandate given in the Security Council resolution.
A provisional regional office in Mosul has been established in a hotel since the beginning of January 2003. UN security guards are guarding the office premises in the hotel, and there is also a small number of support UNMOVIC personnel stationed there. A team of 19 inspectors has already started to use this regional office as a base for inspections of sites in the area. Plans are being made for the expansion of the regional offices to include Basra in February/March 2003.
With regard to the analytical capability in Iraq for the screening and analysis of samples, the situation has also improved. Chemical experts are now able to screen samples, both at BOMVIC and in the field using portable units, while a modular chemical laboratory, acquired commercially, is expected to arrive at BOMVIC within the next three weeks. Within the next few weeks, the biological analytical capability will be enhanced. We have screened several chemical and biological samples in Baghdad, and in the near future, some samples will be sent for further analysis to outside laboratories.
Mr. President, Members may have questions for us on the Declaration and we shall try to answer them, but as we are dealing with subjects, which are often technical and complicated, it might be advisable to allow us some time before the answers are supplied. One way would be for us to take account of them when we draft the "update", which is to be given to the Council on 27 January - shortly after the visit that Dr. ElBaradei and I are scheduled to make to Baghdad on 19 and 20 January.
and a preliminary assessment of Iraq's declaration under
paragraph 3 of resolution 1441 (2002)
19 December 2002
First part: situation report on inspection effort
Before I take up the major subject of my briefing, which relates to the Declaration submitted by Iraq under operative paragraph 3 of resolution 1441(2002), I should like, with your permission, to report briefly on where the UNMOVIC inspection effort stands today, 41 days after the adoption of the resolution on 8 November.
As you will recall, inspections resumed on 27 November.
· Since then the number of UNMOVIC inspectors in Baghdad has increased from 11 to over 90. In addition there are some 55 support staff.
· Since the adoption of the resolution on 8 November, we have signed over 145 employment contracts, most of them for staff in Baghdad but some to strengthen our capacity here in New York.
· During the autumn, we have signed contracts for equipment and services amounting to some 32.3 million dollars, assuming that the services run for a year. Out of this, the largest part of 22.3 million will be for air operations.
· Since the adoption of the resolution, we have initiated an air shuttle between Larnaca in Cyprus and Baghdad, with a field office in Larnaca and service facilities at Saddam International Airport in Baghdad.
· We have recently deployed one helicopter to Baghdad and are expecting 7 more before the end of the year. All will be stationed at the Rasheed airbase, where the Iraqi authorities provide service facilities.
· We have put the Baghdad Ongoing Monitoring, Verification
and Inspection Centre (BOMVIC) into operation and the Iraqi authorities
are cooperating with us in the establishment of a field office
The build-up could hardly have been faster. We have benefited from the extensive preparations which we made for deployment during the past years, the training of potential inspectors, the early identification of potential suppliers and the identification of sites to be inspected at the initial phase. We have also benefited from the excellent cooperation and assistance extended to us by many divisions of the UN Secretariat in New York and by the UN organizations in Baghdad, Cyprus and Brindisi. Here, in New York, we have been given more office space necessary for our functioning but difficult to obtain in the crowded buildings of the UN. For Baghdad, we plan to expand the premises as soon as possible. The Iraqi cooperation has been very helpful for our logistical and infrastructure build-up.
Second part: results so far of the inspection effort
Let me next report on some of our activities and experiences from the past three weeks:
· We have inspected 44 sites declared by Iraq or inspected by UNSCOM or the IAEA in the past, among them 3 in the Mosul area and 8 newly-declared locations.
· We have inspected some sites, which were previously indicated by Iraq as sensitive or presidential. They were now inspected in the same manner as other sites.
· Access to sites has been prompt and assistance on the sites expeditious. It seems probable that a general instruction has been issued not in any way to delay or impede inspection of the kind of sites we have gone to so far. This is welcome and it is to be hoped that such an instruction will extend to all sites we may wish to inspect in the future, regardless of location, character and timing.
· With respect to the results of our inspections, I should note that several sites, which have been the subject of public discussion, have been inspected and questions as to their use may have been answered.
· We have identified the location of some artillery shells and containers with mustard gas. They were placed under UNSCOM supervision in 1998. They will now be sampled, and eventually destroyed.
· Criticism has been voiced by the Iraqi side regarding some inspections:
· The inspection of a presidential site took place without problems - after a minor delay in access. However, it was subsequently stated from the Iraqi side that the inspection was unjustified and that the inspectors could not have looked for weapons of mass destruction, as they did not wear protective gear. Clearly, we do not need to justify any of our selections of sites and one does not need protective gear to look for documents or computer files.
· Some sites were inspected last Friday - the Muslim day of rest. In one of them, the Iraqi staff were absent and a number of doors inside locked, with no keys available. The Iraqi side offered to break the doors open - while videotaping the event. However, they agreed with a suggestion that the doors in question could be sealed overnight and the offices inspected the next morning. Clearly, we have the right to undertake inspections at any time, night or day, whether on weekdays or religious holidays. We intend to exercise this right - not to harass - but to demonstrate that just as there are no sanctuaries in space there are no sanctuaries in time.
Let me report, lastly, two formal requests that we have directed to Iraq in conformity with the resolutions of the Security Council.
Under subparagraph 4 of paragraph 7 of resolution 1441 (2002), UNMOVIC has asked Iraq to provide the names of all personnel currently or formerly associated with some aspect of Iraq's programme of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. During my talks in Baghdad last month,
I indicated that this request would be made and in the Declaration just submitted we find that, in several chapters, the Iraqi side has refrained from submitting names explicitly on the ground that they expected the request to come.
We have asked that the names be submitted to us before the end of the year and suggested that Iraq may proceed in pyramid fashion, starting from the leadership in programmes, going down to management, scientists, engineers and technicians but excluding the basic layer of workers.
The list of names may have several uses. It could, for instance, be of use to learn where those who earlier worked on the biological weapons programme, are now. Some persons on the list could be called for interviews. We certainly consider interviews in Iraq a potentially important source of information - as it has been in the past.
Taking persons to be interviewed and family members out of Iraq is authorized under paragraph 5 of resolution 1441 (2002) and is an option. Although Iraq would be obliged to cooperate, the practical arrangements would have to be carefully examined. Clearly, we could not take anybody out of Iraq without his or her consent.
The second formal request concerns legislation implementing Security Council resolutions. I have reminded the Iraqi side several times in the past year that it should be easy for it to enact such legislation, notably laws prohibiting legal and physical persons to engage in any way in the development, production or storing of weapons of mass destruction or missiles of proscribed range. Model legislation was, in fact, transmitted to Iraq by UNSCOM and the IAEA long ago.
Third part: a preliminary assessment of Iraq's declaration of 7 December
I shall now turn to discuss those parts of Iraq's Declaration
of 7 December, which concern biological and chemical weapons
and long-range missiles.
I hope that my comments may be of some assistance especially to those Members of the Council who have only had the working version one day and who are about to begin their analytical work.
Although UNMOVIC has had access to this text a whole week before the working version was made available, our analysts have been fully occupied preparing the working version and my comments must necessarily be provisional. I trust there will be a further occasion for discussion, when all have had more time for study and analysis.
The first point to be made is that Iraq continues to state in the Declaration, as it has consistently done before its submission, that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when inspectors left at the end of 1998 and that none have been designed, procured, produced or stored in the period since then.
While individual governments have stated that they have convincing evidence to the contrary, UNMOVIC at this point is neither in a position to confirm Iraq's statements, nor in possession of evidence to disprove it.
The purpose of the Security Council resolutions requiring Iraq to declare all WMD programmes and creating an extensive and intensive inspection system is to attain, through peaceful means, confidence that Iraq is rid of or ridding itself of all such programmes and proscribed items - verified disarmament.
A declaration cannot, if it stands alone, create confidence. The listing of sites or of persons, the reporting of production, importation, destruction and consumption figures and the opening of doors, giving access to inspections, is not enough to create confidence that no weapons programmes and proscribed items remain. The statements need to be supported by documentation or other evidence. Only so do they become verifiable.
During the period 1991-1998, Iraq submitted many declarations called full, final and complete. Regrettably, much in these declarations proved inaccurate or incomplete or was unsupported or contradicted by evidence. In such cases, no confidence can arise that proscribed programmes or items have been eliminated.
Such was the situation at the end of 1998, when inspectors left Iraq. The many question marks are documented in a report to the Council early in 1999 (S/1999/94) and in the so-called Amorim Report (S/1999/356). To these question marks, nearly four years without any inspection activity have been added.
In resolution 1441 (2002), Iraq was given an opportunity to provide a fresh declaration and to make it verifiable to the inspecting authorities by submitting supporting evidence. It remains to analyse in detail how much is clarified by the new declaration and supporting material. When we have performed a more thorough analysis, we may ask Iraq for supplementary information and clarifications.
The overall impression is that not much new significant information has been provided in the part of Iraq's Declaration, which relates to proscribed weapons programmes, nor has much new supporting documentation or other evidence been submitted. New material has, on the other hand, been provided concerning non-weapons related activities during the period from the end of 1998 to the present time.
It would appear that the part that covers biological weapons is essentially a reorganized version of a previous declaration provided by Iraq to UNSCOM in September 1997. In the chemical weapons area, the basis of the current Declaration is a declaration submitted by Iraq in 1996 with subsequent updates and explanations. In the missile field, the Declaration follows the same format, and seems to have largely the same content as Iraq's 1996 missile declaration and updates.
Although it must be noted that much of what Iraq has provided in the weapons part of its Declaration is not new, there are some sections of new material. In the chemical weapons field, Iraq has further explained its account of the material balance of precursors for chemical warfare agents. Although it does not resolve outstanding issues on this subject, it may help to achieve a better understanding of the fate of the precursors.
In the missile area, there is a good deal of information regarding Iraq's activities in the past few years. As declared by Iraq, these are permitted activities, which will be monitored by UNMOVIC to ensure that they comply with the relevant Council resolutions. A series of new projects have been declared that are at various stages of development. They include a design for a new liquid oxygen/ethanol propellant engine and replacement of guidance systems for several surface-to-air missiles. These projects will need to be investigated and evaluated by UNMOVIC.
Iraq has also provided information on a short-range rocket that is manufactured using 81 mm aluminium tubes. Although this is not a new disclosure, the information may be relevant to well-publicized reports concerning the importation of aluminium tubes. At this stage, UNMOVIC has drawn no conclusions concerning the tubes, and further investigation of this will be conducted.
While I am on the subject of new information, I would like to mention a document recently provided by Iraq. This is the so-called Air Force document, which was once in the hands of an UNSCOM inspector and which relates to the consumption of chemical munitions in the Iraq/Iran War. Potentially, it could assist in resolving some questions relating to the material balance of chemical weapons. We are now closely examining this document to establish the scope of the information and to evaluate it in the light of information in our archives. It is too early to say whether it will support the information in Iraq's Declaration.
I now turn to some inconsistencies and issues that will need clarification. In the biological area, Iraq previously provided, in its submission to the Amorim panel in February 1999, a table concerning the additional import of bacterial growth media. Growth media was used by Iraq in the production of anthrax and other biological warfare agents. This table has been omitted from the current Declaration and the reasons for the omission need to be explained.
In the civilian chemical area, Iraq has declared that it has repaired and installed equipment that had previously been destroyed under UNSCOM supervision, under Council resolution 687 (1991). The equipment is now at a civilian chemical plant and used for the production of chlorine and other chemicals.
An UNMOVIC team has recently inspected both the plant and the equipment. Consideration will now need to be given to the fate of this equipment, as well as other equipment, which was presumed destroyed.
In the missile area, Iraq has declared the development of a missile known as the Al Samoud, which uses components from an imported surface-to-air missile.
A variant of the Al Samoud, with a larger diameter (760 mm) than the standard version (500 mm) has been declared. Because of the potential of such a missile, UNSCOM had informed Iraq that such a development should not proceed until technical discussions had resolved the question of capability. In the latest update of the semi-annual monitoring declarations, Iraq has declared that in 13 flight tests of the Al Samoud the missile has exceeded the permitted range. The greatest range achieved was 183 kilometres.
The use of components from the imported surface-to-air missile, which I have just mentioned, was also the subject of the letters of March 1994 and November 1997 in which the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM stated that the activity was not permitted. Iraq disputed the UNSCOM view that the activity was in violation of its obligations. From its current Declaration, it appears that Iraq has, in fact, proceeded with the conversion in recent years. The whole issue will now need to be considered.
I have covered new information in Iraq's Declaration, some inconsistencies, and issues that need to be considered or clarified through investigation or technical discussions.
As there is little new substantive information in the weapons part of Iraq's Declaration, or new supporting documentation, the issues that were identified as unanswered in the Amorim report (S/1999/356) and in UNSCOM's report (S/1999/94) remain unresolved. In most cases, the issues are outstanding not because there is information that contradicts Iraq's account, but simply because there is a lack of supporting evidence. Such supporting evidence, in the form of documentation, testimony by individuals who took part, or physical evidence, for example, destroyed warheads, is required to give confidence that Iraq's Declaration is indeed accurate, full and complete.
The issues that have previously been identified include the
unilateral destruction of indigenously produced "training"
missile engines, the accounting for 50 conventional warheads
declared to be unilaterally destroyed but not recovered, 550
mustard gas shells declared lost after the Gulf War, declarations
concerning the production and weaponization of the nerve agent
VX, the declared unilateral destruction of biological warfare
agents and Iraq's declaration concerning the material balance
of bacterial growth media.
Fourth part: outlook
What role will the inspection system play if Iraq fails to provide evidence supporting its statements that there remain no weapons of mass destruction and that nothing was produced or developed or stored during the period from the end of 1998 until now?
Inspections of sites have, as one important objective, the verification of industrial, military, research and other current activities with a view to assuring that no proscribed programmes or activities are regenerated at any site in Iraq. This side of the inspection system can be characterized as a form of containment. Through the other side of the system of reinforced monitoring, there is a continuation of investigations to complete the requirement of disarmament, as laid down in resolution 687 (1991) and many subsequent resolutions.
The sites to be inspected in the future are not only those which have been declared by Iraq or inspected in the past, but also any new sites which may become known through procurement information, interviews, defectors, open sources, intelligence or overhead imagery. New techniques and increasing resources are available for this effort.
The use of multiple teams - in all disciplines - operating in parallel all over Iraq has been the basis for planning our inspections. To decrease the possibility of prediction, no systematic patterns are being followed. Advanced technology will play its role once procurement is finalized. Not only monitoring equipment, such as cameras and sensors, will be used but also surveillance over-flights from various platforms, including fixed-wing aircraft, drones and helicopters.
Inspection activities at sites seek to establish the operational objectives of sites. They comprise searches for proscribed material and equipment, as well as documents and computers. Sampling may also provide important information related to any undeclared activities at sites. Arrangements are in place for the procurement of chemical and biological analytical facilities to be installed at our Baghdad Centre. None of these tools and inspection activities will guarantee that all possibly concealed items and activities will be found, but based on the extensive authority given in resolution 1441 (2002) and backed by a united Security Council, they will make any attempted concealment more difficult.
I am grateful for the opportunity given to me to informally brief the Council on the visit to Baghdad last week by myself and the Director-General of the IAEA, Dr. ElBaradei, and delegations accompanying us. In doing this, I shall also touch on our readiness for inspections. I have shared my comments this morning with Dr. ElBaradei and I speak on his behalf as well as on my own.
The journey and the visit were covered intensely by the media. However, I shall try to provide you a picture that is more coherent and comprehensive than that which emerges from the public coverage.
The Council adopted Resolution 1441 (2002) on Friday 8 November. Today, about two weeks after the adoption of the resolution, the first group of UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors have arrived in Baghdad and the essential physical infrastructure for the resumed inspection regime is in place and is being tested. The first inspections are scheduled for the day after tomorrow, that is, on 27 November. This will be within 19 days of the adoption of the resolution rather than the 45 days allowed.
Any statements or writings you may see about where any inspections - whether the first or subsequent - will go, are speculations. The Council has authorized us to go anywhere any time and we intend to do so without telling anyone in advance.
While the group of UNMOVIC inspectors flown in today are from the staff that worked at our headquarters, groups from our roster of trained inspectors will be successively flown to Baghdad in the weeks to come. By Christmas time we expect to have some 100 inspectors plus support staff in place. The logistics are also being rapidly strengthened. Thanks to assistance from the Government of New Zealand we already have communications people and medics in place and, before the end of this week, we may have the first of eight helicopters in Baghdad.
An important point in the infrastructure is the field office in Larnaca.
The Government of Cyprus has been most helpful to us throughout and an agreement has been concluded with it enabling us to have a field office and a launching pad for air transport to Iraq. An L-130 plane is in place to ferry inspectors and other staff as well as equipment to Iraq from Larnaca. It was this plane that took 30 of us from UNMOVIC, the IAEA and UN security to Baghdad last Monday (18 November).
Now to our journey.
On arrival in Baghdad we visited the Canal Hotel, where UNOHCI has its headquarters and where the floor belonging to UNSCOM and the IAEA has been sealed awaiting resumed inspections. We reopened the offices, which were covered with four years' of dust and grime and bore witness to the abrupt departure of the staff in December 1998. The refurbishments have started. Some of the new equipment needed was brought already on this first trip. About half of those who flew in last Monday stay and will be joined by more support staff and by inspectors. The current premises will not be enough and we plan to expand them.
I am confident that the cooperation and relation with UNOHCI, which has kindly lent us a helping hand in Baghdad at this initial stage, will be very good, just as the cooperation here in New York is excellent between us and the Oil for Food Programme. Our staff knows that the sister UN organizations, whose leaders we met and talked to in Baghdad, perform crucial humanitarian and development work in Iraq and these organizations know that eliminating all weapons of mass destruction and avoiding armed conflict are preconditions for further success in the pursuit of humanitarian and development objectives.
Our visit taking place during Ramadan, the talks with the Iraqi officials were held in the evenings. The Iraqi delegation was headed, as at the talks in Vienna a month and a half earlier, by Dr. Al Sa'adi. The Foreign Minister, Dr. Naji Sabri, received Dr. ElBaradei and myself briefly on the 19th. We also had a meeting with the diplomatic corps on that day.
Now to the talks.
The Iraqi side assured us that Iraq intended to provide full cooperation with us in the implementation of Resolution 1441 (2002), while expecting correct and professional conduct from the inspecting organizations. They noted that there would have been no legal obstacle to inspections starting under Resolution 1284 (1999) a month earlier and regretted that this had not been the case. For my part, I noted that the resolution cited would have allowed inspections much earlier than that. I noted further that the new resolution is binding upon both Iraq and us and that the first inspections were scheduled for 27 November. This means, incidentally, that in accordance with operative para. 5 of Resolution 1441 (2002), the UNMOVIC and IAEA updating report to the Security Council is due on 27 January 2003.
We examined and explained in some detail to the Iraqi delegation how we understood the time lines of both Resolution 1441 (2002) and Resolution 1284 (1999), stressing the vital importance of the declaration, which Iraq has to make on 8 December.
The Iraqi side expressed some uncertainty about how it should appropriately prepare this declaration. It noted that the declaration was to be submitted not only to UNMOVIC and the IAEA but also to the Security Council. Who was to examine it? Were the weapons programme parts of the declaration expected to be an updating of the former "full final and complete" declarations? Would programmes claimed to be for non-weapons purposes in the chemistry sector have to comprise items of remote relevance, e.g. the production of plastic slippers? In view of the fact that time for submission was short and omissions could have serious consequences, the Iraqi side said it had some concerns.
Dr. ElBaradei and I said we had no authority to interpret the provisions of operative para. 3, which was directed to Iraq. Nevertheless we expressed some views on a personal basis. Clearly, the most important thing was that whatever there existed by way of weapons programmes and proscribed items should be fully declared. I added that four years had passed since the last inspections and that many governments believed that WMD programmes remained in Iraq. The Council had wanted to offer Iraq a last opportunity.
If the Iraqi side were to state - as it still did at our meeting - that there were no such programmes, it would need to provide convincing documentary or other evidence. What was found in FFCDs submitted to UNSCOM in many cases left it an open question whether some weapons remained.
Dr. ElBaradei and I suggested that submission of the declaration in the form of CD ROMS might be the most practical; that programmes, which seemed remote from any weapons field, perhaps might be listed with their sites and with notes that more detailed information would be supplied on request.
The UNMOVIC side transmitted informally a list of comments and questions resulting from our preliminary analysis of the backlog of semi-annual monitoring declarations, which had been given to us in Vienna on 1 October. We proposed that responses should be given as soon as possible and not await the next regular submission of semi-annual declarations, which would be in January. The Iraqi side stated that some points had not been well checked before submission. There had been some discrepancies and gaps in the missile area. This would be corrected and resubmitted.
From the UNMOVIC side I made a number of further points:
It would be desirable, as we had suggested on earlier occasions, that the implementing legislation prohibiting citizens to engage in programmes of WMDs be enacted. It was called for already in the OMV plan approved by resolution 715 (1991) and should not be very difficult.
We would propose to set up a field office in Mosul without delay and would request Iraqi assistance for this purpose very soon. We would have inspection and support staff as well as UN security guards there. Further offices might be set up in other places later. For now it was Mosul because the largest number of sites outside the Baghdad region were in the Mosul region.
We would further need Iraqi assistance in the expansion of the premises at the Canal Hotel. If the UN was enabled to lease empty land next to the hotel, as it had requested, UNMOVIC could use some of it to erect prefabricated buildings giving needed space for its staff - which would be larger than that which UNSCOM had had. We agreed that the hot line between our office and the National Monitoring Directorate should be re-established and be available 24 hours a day.
Resolution 1441, para. 7 contains an authorization to request names of personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq's programmes for WMDs and missiles. I stated that UNMOVIC planned to make use of this authority.
The right explicitly given under Resolution 1441, para. 7 to access to presidential sites "equal to that at other sites" would, I said, be exercised and carried out in the same professional manner as at other sites. The Iraqi side took note of this but remarked that the entry into a presidential site or a ministry was not exactly the same thing as entry into a factory.
Given the heavy interest by Iraqi and other media, which we had experienced, we stressed that inspection was a serious business and could not be allowed to turn into some circus. We made it clear, accordingly, that we would not accept media presence at or in inspection sites or areas during inspections. The Iraqi side took note of this but explained that it might invite media to visit such sites after the inspectors had finished their work. We have stationed a spokesman in Baghdad to give brief factual information about inspections, which have taken place. Any more substantial comments will be made in New York.
I have concluded my report on our visit to Baghdad and on the state of our preparation for resumed inspections. However, I should like to mention that going to Baghdad I had the welcome opportunity to stop on the way for some hours in Paris and brief the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Villepin, on the objectives of the mission and to discuss with him and senior officials the implementation of the resolution. I was assured of firm French support for the implementation stage and for effective inspections. I had also occasion in Paris for a short but helpful talk with Foreign Minister Castaneda of Mexico, who was in town. On our way back from Baghdad, Dr. ElBaradei and I were invited to meet with the President of Cyprus, Mr. Clerides, and on my further journey to New York, I met with officials in London and was invited for a talk with Prime Minister Blair. He assured me of the UK Government's support for effective inspections and its determination to ensure the implementation of Resolution 1441 (2002) and the elimination of WMDs and long-range missiles from Iraq.