22 December 1997


Press Release
SC/6458



SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS IMMEDIATE, UNCONDITIONAL ACCESS FOR INSPECTION TEAMS OF UN SPECIAL COMMISSION IN IRAQ

19971222
Presidential Statement Says Failure To Provide Access Unacceptable, Stresses Iraqi Cooperation Will Determine Speed of Mandate's Completion

The Security Council this afternoon reiterated its demand that the Government of Iraq allow the inspection teams of the United Nations Special Commission immediate and unconditional access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation.

In a statement read out by its President, Fernando Berrocal Soto (Costa Rica), the Council stressed that failure by Iraq's Government to provide such access was unacceptable and a clear violation of the Council's relevant resolutions. The Council expressed its full support for the Special Commission and its Executive Chairman, Richard Butler, including his ongoing discussions with officials of the Iraqi Government, and called upon the Iraqi Government to cooperate fully with the Special Commission in the implementation of its mandate.

The Council also reiterated that the effectiveness and speed with which the Special Commission accomplished its responsibilities would be determined by the degree with which the Iraqi Government cooperated in disclosing the full extent and disposition of its proscribed programmes and in granting the Special Commission unimpeded access to all sites, documents, records and individuals.

The meeting, which was called to order at 1:21 p.m., was adjourned at 1:27 p.m.


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Presidential Statement

The full text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as S/PRST/1997/56, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the report of 18 December 1997 from the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (S/1997/987) on his discussions with officials of the Government of Iraq, which took place in Baghdad 12 to 16 December 1997.

"The Security Council recalls all its relevant resolutions, including resolution 1137 (1997), and the statement of its President on 3 December 1997. The Council reiterates its demand that the Government of Iraq cooperate fully with the Special Commission in accordance with all relevant resolutions and that the Government of Iraq allow the Special Commission inspection teams immediate, unconditional 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.

"The Security Council stresses that failure by the Government of Iraq to provide the Special Commission with immediate, unconditional access to any site or category of sites is unacceptable and a clear violation of the relevant resolutions.

"The Security Council expresses its full support for the Special Commission and its Executive Chairman, including in his ongoing discussions with officials of the Government of Iraq. The Council acknowledges that discussions are continuing on practical arrangements for implementation of all its relevant resolutions. The Council reiterates that the effectiveness and speed with which the Special Commission may accomplish its responsibilities, is, above all, determined by the degree to which the Government of Iraq cooperates in disclosing the full extent and disposition of its proscribed programmes and in granting the Special Commission unimpeded access to all sites, documents, records, and individuals. The Council calls upon the Government of Iraq to cooperate fully with the Special Commission in the implementation of its mandate.

"The Security Council will remain actively seized of the matter."

Report of Executive Chairman

When the Council met this afternoon it had before it a 17 December letter to its President from the Executive Director of its Special Commission to monitor the disarmament of Iraq (UNSCOM), Richard Butler, forwarding the report on the outcome of his visit to Baghdad from 12 to 16 December (document S/1997/987). Mr. Butler was accompanied by three Commissioners, as well as


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senior officers of the Commission's permanent staff. They met with an Iraqi team led by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, accompanied by senior military and civilian officials responsible for Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes.

The report states that three plenary meetings were held, as well as two technical-level meetings between the Commission's experts and their Iraqi counterparts. The policy discussions focused on access by UNSCOM to sites, documents and persons relevant to Iraq's programmes on weapons of mass destruction and on issues relating to its disarmament and the ongoing monitoring and verification process. The technical discussions focused on subjects relating to missile warheads, the chemical agent VX, munitions filled with mustard, and the overall field of biological weapons.

During the policy discussions, the Executive Chairman said the modalities for inspection of sensitive sites needed to be reviewed. In reply, the Deputy Prime Minister described what his Government considered to be the five categories of sites within Iraq: normal sites, national security sites, presidential and sovereign sites, civilian sites and private residences, and foreign sites. In subsequent discussion, the Iraqi side presented the views regarding access to and inspection of those sites.

Normal sites, which included factories, sites belonging to the Military Industrialization Corporation, military warehouses and military camps, could be visited and inspected without restriction, they stated. National security sites, which were sites of significance in terms of the security of the State -- including sites of the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard, sites of the military and civilian intelligence agencies, and security apparatus sites -- were those to which the provided modalities for the inspection of sensitive sites would apply, except for the most secret rooms therein, to which no access would be granted.

Presidential and sovereign sites, including sites, offices and resorts at which the Head of State resides and/or works, and headquarters but not branches of ministries, could not be inspected or overflown under any circumstances, they stated. Civilian sites and/or private residences could only be inspected if the property owners granted permission. With respect to foreign sites in Iraq, including foreign companies, diplomatic offices and residences, UNSCOM would have to deal directly with them.

The Executive Chairman had asked whether Iraq might be prepared to provide a list or map of presidential and sovereign sites to UNSCOM and the Security Council, so that the order of magnitude of that proposed exclusion could be seen. The Deputy Prime Minister said that could not be done because such a map would assist the bombing of those sites by the United States. He said that if the Executive Chairman could obtain a written guarantee from the President of the Council that such a bombing would never take place, a list or


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map could be provided. The Deputy Prime Minister said Iraq's position was justified by and in accordance with a 3 December statement by the President of the Council, having regard to its reference to respect the national security, sovereignty and dignity of Iraq.

Regarding the second category, the Deputy Prime Minister agreed to an improvement of the arrangements for inspection of national security sites. He accepted that UNSCOM would increase the size of entry teams beyond the current limit of four persons, with the final number of inspectors to enter the sites to be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Chief Inspector and the senior Iraqi representative.

Iraq agreed to take steps to reduce significantly the delay in entry to such sites and the delays which UNSCOM teams often faced at checkpoints on roads to inspection sites. Immediately upon a site being declared sensitive, the Chief Inspector and the accompanying Iraqi representative ("minder") could enter the site to ensure that movement within it was frozen and, for example, that documents were not burnt or destroyed.

With respect to civilian sites and private residences, the Executive Chairman expressed reservations about Iraq's claim that it basically lacked domestic authority over such sites.

Regarding aviation, the Deputy Prime Minister said he would discuss the issue further during the Executive Chairman's next visit to Baghdad. It was then agreed that the Executive Chairman would visit Baghdad again in the week beginning 19 January 1998, at which time the experience in implementation of the new arrangements for the inspection of national security sites would be reviewed.

The Executive Chairman and the Deputy Prime Minister agreed that the technical discussions should focus on subjects relating to missile warheads and chemical and biological weapons. Representatives of Iraq stated that Iraq had destroyed and/or no longer had any weapons of mass destruction and, that where there was disagreement between the Commission and Iraq on these issues of substance, those disagreements should be settled in technical "seminars" with the participation of both international and Iraqi experts.

The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated that "the Government of Iraq possessed not one gram of biological agents, not one gram of biological weapons, in Iraqi Government hands in the territory of Iraq". The Commission could continue its normal work, with which Iraq would cooperate fully, and Iraq would answer any questions put to it by the Commission in due course. However, Iraq would not itself volunteer any new information. It preferred a situation by which it would verify the information held by the Commission.


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The Executive Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister agreed that, as part of the verification of specific issues, the Special Commission would be prepared to conduct technical evaluation meetings with the Iraqi side, on the following basis: the Executive Chairman would invite qualified and objective international experts, chosen from the countries having the necessary expertise, to take part and participate in the Commission's team; and the Commission would prepare a dossier for the team containing all the relevant information, and it would be made available to the Iraqi side to enable it to respond to questions at the technical evaluation meeting;

It was also agreed that the discussions at those meetings would be conducted in an open and continuous manner to enable joint evaluation of technical issues. The Commission's team would advise the Executive Chairman on its findings as a result of the meetings, and the Executive Chairman would then incorporate those findings in reports to the Security Council and the Government of Iraq.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the international experts would form part of a single UNSCOM side, so that the technical evaluation meeting would be two- and not three-sided. In the event of divided views, it would be for the Executive Chairman to decide what went into his report, perhaps by first putting it to the UNSCOM Commissioners for their consideration or advice.

It was then agreed that technical evaluation meetings would be scheduled for January 1998 in the areas of missile warheads and the chemical agent VX, with a technical evaluation meeting in the biological weapons area to follow as soon as practicable.

Regarding the Commission's preliminary findings on the removal of dual- use equipment, the Executive Chairman told the third plenary meeting that the Commission had found no evidence of proscribed activities at the facilities it visited or at the declared evacuation sites. No evidence had been found to date of any misuse of dual-use items, except for one possible case within a chemical facility. The Commission's task and verification work would have been much facilitated if Iraq had provided all information and data on the removal of equipment, as requested in the Commission's letter of 26 November to Iraq. The Commission would continue its efforts to determine if any misuse of equipment and materials under monitoring has occurred, he stated. The Deputy Prime Minister said he was satisfied with that statement.

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