21 June 1997

Press Release



The Security Council this evening demanded that Iraq give inspection teams of the United Nations Special Commission immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all sites, equipment, records and persons they wished to inspect or interview in order to fully discharge their mandate. Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1115 (1997), expressing its firm intention to impose additional measures on the categories of Iraqi officials responsible for not complying with those demands, unless it is advised otherwise by the Commission's Executive Chairman in his consolidated report due on 11 October. Pending the receipt of the consolidated report of the Commission -- which was set up under resolution 687 (1991) in connection with the disposal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- the Council decided not to conduct its 60-day reviews of sanctions imposed on Iraq until after the report is received. Those reviews would then resume in accordance with resolution 687 (1991). Also by today's resolution, the Council condemned the Iraqi authorities' repeated refusal to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission, actions that violated four Council resolutions adopted between 1991 to 1996. In the text's preambular part, the Council recalled a letter dated 12 June from the Commission's Executive Chairman (document S/1997/474), which expressed concern that the Iraqi Government had decided to prevent full implementation of the Commission's mandate. In acknowledging their refusal of access to some sites on 10 and 12 June, Iraqi officials had stated that they were doing so on the highest authority. Statements were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, Egypt, Japan, United States, China and Russian Federation.

The meeting began at 10:07 p.m. and adjourned at 10:41 p.m.

Work Programme

The Security Council met this evening to consider the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.

It had before it a draft resolution (document S/1997/479) sponsored by Chile, Costa Rica, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. It reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, and in particular its resolutions 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991 and 1060 (1996) of 12 June 1996,

"Recalling also the letter from the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission to the President of the Security Council of 12 June 1997 (S/1997/474), which reported to the Council the incidents on 10 and 12 June 1997 when access by a Special Commission inspection team to sites in Iraq designated for inspection by the Commission was excluded by the Iraqi authorities,

"Determined to ensure full compliance by Iraq with its obligations under all previous resolutions, in particular resolutions 687 (1991), 707 (1991), 715 (1991) and 1060 (1996) to permit immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to the Special Commission to any site which the Commission wishes to inspect,

"Stressing the unacceptability of any attempts by Iraq to deny access to any such site,

"Reiterating the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait and Iraq,

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

"1. Condemns the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission, which constitutes a clear and flagrant violation of the provisions of Security Council resolutions 687 (1991), 707 (1991), 715 (1991) and 1060 (1996);

"2. Demands that Iraq cooperate fully with the Special Commission in accordance with the relevant resolutions; and that the Government of Iraq allow the Special Commission inspection teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation which they wish to inspect in accordance with the mandate of the Special Commission;

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"3. Demands further that the Government of Iraq give immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to officials and other persons under the authority of the Iraqi Government whom the Special Commission wishes to interview, so that the Special Commission may fully discharge its mandate;

"4. Request the Chairman of the Special Commission to include in his consolidated progress reports under resolution 1051 (1996) an annex evaluating Iraq's compliance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of this resolution;

"5. Decides not to conduct the reviews provided for in paragraphs 21 and 28 of resolution 687 (1991) until after the next consolidated progress report of the Special Commission, due on 11 October 1997, after which time those reviews will resume in accordance with resolution 687 (1991);

"6. Expresses the firm intention, unless the Special Commission advises the Council in the report referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 that Iraq is in substantial compliance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of this resolution, to impose additional measures on those categories of Iraqi officials responsible for the non-compliance;

"7. Reaffirms its full support to the Special Commission in its efforts to ensure the implementation of its mandate under the relevant resolutions of the Council;

"8. Decides to remain seized of the matter."


Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said that, in response to the appeal of the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission for Council support, the measures proposed in the draft resolution were targeted and limited, and a clear demonstration of the Council's backing. The Special Commission had shown that, from the outset, the Iraqi Government had engaged in a coordinated attempt to hide from the Commission the full extent of its activities before and after the adoption of resolution 687 (1991). For the Council to trust that Iraq had fully complied with resolution 687 (1991), it was essential for the mechanism of deception and concealment to be exposed and stopped. Otherwise, the Council could not say whether caches of equipment, documents, facilities or entire programmes still existed, hidden from it.

The Commission's Chairman, he said, had told the Council that organizations responsible for the concealment were closely linked to those responsible for the highest levels of national security in Iraq. It was within the Commission's mandate to investigate those organs. And, if the Iraqi Government found that uncomfortable, the remedy was in its hands. It must be completely open with the Commission and cease all harassment and

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obstructions. Only then could there be progress towards fulfilling section C of resolution 687 (1991). It was time for the Council to remind the Iraqis, in a real but measured way, of its obligations to the Council. He had co-sponsored and would vote for the draft resolution since it was reasonable, proportionate and focused.

NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said the new text before the Council had taken into account the various comments made by several delegations on the original text that had been circulated within the Council. Even though the new draft raised some questions that should be clarified, it was a departure from the original text that had been circulated before the Council. Egypt would not have supported that original text, which would have imposed some new measures on Iraq at an inopportune time and would not have reiterated commitment to the sovereignty of Iraq. An imbalance in relation to the system of sanctions would have resulted from the adoption of that text.

He said Egypt had always asserted the need for Iraq to implement the resolutions of the Council and to meet its commitments to the Special Commission, which it had often done in the past. Egypt would vote for the new resolution before the Council because it did not contain the imposition of new sanctions against Iraq, conformed with Egypt's position that Iraq should comply with Council resolutions and because the text would reiterate commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said recent Iraqi actions could not simply be considered as technical violations of inspection procedures. The authority of the Council was being challenged. The situation should not be looked at as a mere technicality of violation of the sanctions regime against Iraq. It raised the most serious question of preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction, an issue of utmost concern to the Council, which involved the question of peace and stability in the region.

Simply to repeat condemnations which had been issued in the past would not have been sufficient in the light of the gravity of the situation, he said. Japan supported the direction in which the Council would move with the present resolution. Paragraph 5 of the resolution was an essential element which sought to bring Iraq to resume full cooperation unconditionally with the Special Commission as soon as possible. It was important, in that context, that paragraph 6 expressed the firm will of the Council to take additional measures unless Iraq was in full compliance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of the resolution. The purport of the paragraph was to require Iraq to cooperate fully with the Special Commission and to give immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to its officials and other persons under its authority for interviews, so that the Commission could exercise all its rights as an essential precondition for discharging its mandate. Therefore, Japan was co-sponsoring the draft resolution.

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EDWARD W. GNEHM (United States) said time and again the Council had expressed support for the Special Commission through resolutions and presidential statements. Iraq had responded with contempt. Now, the time for mere words was over. Iraq had shown that it would never voluntarily comply with Council resolutions unless the Council acted firmly and decisively to enforce its will. That was the reason the present resolution had been brought forward. It would demonstrate conclusively to Iraq that its actions had serious consequences. Iraq had to know that if it not only failed to make progress but deliberately moved backwards in its respect for the Council and for the Commission, then there was a price to pay.

So far as the action to be taken by the Council was concerned, those particular steps had been chosen because they were measured and targeted, he said. The resolution limited suspension of the 60-day sanctions reviews to a fixed period, specifically until the next semi-annual progress report of the Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in October. The Council's action suspended only the reviews scheduled for 30 June and 30 August. There was no possibility that either of those reviews could have resulted in a change in the sanctions regime given the extent to which Iraq's current challenge had set back the Commission's work. So the present measure did nothing to prolong the sanctions regime. However, it did send a strong message to Baghdad that lifting of sanctions would be impossible until Iraq fundamentally changed its approach.

He said the Council was also expressing its intent to impose new measures targeted precisely at those parties most responsible for the continued concealment of Iraq's weapons programmes if Iraq ignored the latest resolution and failed to comply with the Commission's authority to conduct inspections and interviews without interference.

The Council then unanimously adopted the draft text before it as resolution 1115 (1997).

QIN HUASUN (China) said his Government had always supported the need for Iraq to comply with Council resolutions and to improve its cooperation with the Special Commission to enable it to fulfil its mandate. On the other hand, the legitimate security concerns of Iraq as a sovereign country must be taken into account by the international community. Last year's Joint Statement between Iraq and the Special Commission should be implemented.

Sanctions imposed against Iraq, he said, had been maintained for about six years while the Commission had stated that Iraq had substantially been cooperating with it. Also, the Commission had reported that Iraq had essentially cooperated with more than 40 of its recent inspections. Under such circumstances, the Council should begin considering a moment when it would one day lift the sanctions against Iraq in order to alleviate the suffering of its people.

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Threats to impose additional sanctions on Iraq were not fair, given the fact that threats of sanctions had sometimes proved counterproductive, he said. The resolution adopted by the Council had removed the provisions in an earlier draft that would have imposed new sanctions and had reiterated the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Special Commission should carry out its inspections according to its mandate from the Council.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said his delegation believed that Iraq should fulfil its obligations under Security Council resolutions and implement the agreement it had reached last year with the Special Commission. By adopting today's resolution, all members of the Council had reiterated their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. The resolution just adopted was a more balanced and appropriate response by the Council and a clear expression of support for the Special Commission. The consensus reached by the Council was part of the main thrust in the Council to close the disarmament issue as it related to Iraq and to seek a lasting settlement of the conflict that took place in the Persian Gulf region.

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