4 November 1998
LETTER DATED 2 NOVEMBER 1998 FROM THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSION
ESTABLISHED BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 9 (b) (i) OF SECURITY COUNCILRESOLUTION 687 (1991)
ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
I was informed that during the informal consultations of the Security Council on 31 October 1998, the Council requested the Special Commission to present a technical report to the Council on the consequences of Iraq's decision of 31 October.
As reflected in the letter submitted to the Council on 31 October (S/1998/1023) by the Deputy Executive Chairman, Mr. Charles Duelfer, Iraq's decision to put a stop to all inspection activities by the Commission.
Iraq's decision, when combined with the decision it took on 5 August (see S/1998/718), brings to a complete halt all inspection activities of the Commission, either for disarmament or monitoring purposes. Several visiting inspection teams scheduled for the coming weeks in support of monitoring activities have been cancelled.
Routine logistic and maintenance work has not been prohibited by Iraq. Thus, such activities as the L-100 transport flights and maintenance of the camera systems - activities relevant to both the Special Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - continue.
The Commission understands that IAEA is continuing its monitoring operations within the limitations imposed by Iraq's decisions of 5 August and 31 October 1998. The Commission will continue to provide the nuclear monitoring teams with logistical support when so requested by IAEA. The Commission wishes to draw the Council's attention to the fact that a clear distinction between IAEA and the Commission's monitoring activities, which Iraq has sought to draw, will be difficult to establish, considering the inherent links between the mandates of IAEA and the Commission.
For the moment, I have decided to maintain the full scope of the Commission's personnel and capabilities in Iraq so that they can resume full activities without delay should the situation change in the next days. This
decision may need to be reassessed in case Iraq does not rescind its decisions in the near future.
In conclusion, Iraq's decisions of 5 August and 31 October make it impossible for the Commission to implement its disarmament and monitoring rights and responsibilities. The Commission is not in a position to provide the Council with any level of assurance regarding Iraq's compliance with its obligations not to retain and not to re-establish proscribed activities. Although the Commission's monitoring cameras are permitted by Iraq to work, they are, by themselves, minor in terms of providing credible monitoring. This can be accomplished only with full, immediate access and the exercise of the full scope of the Commission's monitoring resources, in particular no-notice, on-the-spot inspections.
I will keep the Security Council informed of any further significant developments that may occur.
(Signed) Richard BUTLER