The Security Council this afternoon demanded that the Government of Iraq allow teams of the Special Commission charged with investigating Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted" access to all sites designated by the Commission for inspection. In a statement read out on its behalf by its President, Legwaila J.M.J. Legwaila (Botswana), the Council said Iraq's delays on four occasions (9, 11, 14 and 15 March) in permitting the inspection team access to the sites designated by the Special Commission constituted clear violations by Iraq of the provisions of resolutions 687 (1991), 707 (1991), and 715 (1991). The Council was responding to a series of four incidents, which began with a request for access to the Ministry of Irrigation on 8 March. That situation was followed by three other requests for access to three sites belonging to the Republican Guard, including a training institute and headquarters. The Council noted that, in all of the cases, access was subsequently granted only after unacceptable delays. According to the Council's resolution 687 (1991), which authorized the Secretary-General to establish the Special Commission, Iraq is required to permit immediate on-site inspections of any of its self-declared biological, chemical and missile capabilities, as well as any other locations designated by the Commission. Subsequent resolutions expanded and confirmed the obligation of Iraq to grant inspection teams immediate and unrestricted access to all facilities. In a letter of 17 March, addressed to the President of the Council (document S/1996/204), the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq points out that access was delayed due to "practical factors relating to ensuring the efficiency of the inspection". It was also a result of the special nature of the premises that the team had asked to inspect, such as a ministry and a headquarters relating to national security. He pointed out that none of the inspections yielded the items that had been alleged to be in each location.
The Executive Chairman of the Special Commission, Rolf Ekeus, states in a 9 March letter to the Council President (document S/1996/182) that the
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6195 3642nd Meeting (PM) 19 March 1996
delay, occasioned by Iraq in permitting the inspection of 8 March to proceed, might call into question whether steps were taken by Iraq to dispose of documents and other items relating to its proscribed weapons programmes.
The meeting, which was called to order at 1:30 p.m., was adjourned at 1:37 p.m.
Text of the Presidential Statement The text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1996/11, reads as follows:
"The Security Council has noted with growing concern that the incident described in the letter of 9 March 1996 from the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission to the President of the Security Council (S/1996/182) and the further incident on 11 March 1996 in which an inspection team was again not allowed immediate and unconditional access to a site designated by the Commission under its resolution 687 (1991) were followed by further such incidents on 14 and 15 March 1996. In all of these cases, access was subsequently granted only after unacceptable delays.
"The Security Council reiterates its full support for the Special Commission in the conduct of its inspections and the other tasks entrusted to it by the Council. "The Security Council notes the letter of 17 March 1996 to its President from the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq (S/1996/204). It recalls that, under paragraph 9 (b) (i) of section C of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), Iraq is required to permit "immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities, based on Iraq's declarations and the designation of any additional locations by the Special Commission itself". By its resolution 707 (1991), the Council also expressly demanded that Iraq "allow the Special Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency and their inspection teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation which they wish to inspect". The obligation was furthermore confirmed in the Commission's plan for ongoing monitoring and verification which was approved by the Security Council in resolution 715 (1991); in this context, the Council recalls the notes from the Secretary-General of 21 July 1993 (S/26127) and 1 December 1993 (S/26825). "The Security Council considers that Iraq's delays in permitting the inspection team recently in Iraq access to the sites concerned constitute clear violations by Iraq of the provisions of resolutions 687 (1991), 701 (1991) and 715 (1991). The Council demands that the Government of Iraq allow the Special Commission inspection teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all sites designated by the Commission for inspection in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Council."
* *** *