The Security Council this afternoon welcomed the improved access provided by Iraq to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in their monitoring of the disposal of that country's weapons of mass destruction, and called for continued implementation of the 23 February Memorandum of Understanding signed by Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Through a statement read out by its President, Njuguna M. Mahugu (Kenya), the Council expressed its hope that Iraq's agreement to fulfil its obligation to provide immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to the Special Commission and the IAEA will reflect a new Iraqi spirit with regard to the provision of accurate and detailed information in all areas of concern, as required by the Council's relevant resolutions.
The Council expressed concern at indications that Iraq has not provided full disclosure in a number of critical areas, despite repeated requests from the Special Commission, and called upon it to do so. The Council also noted that the investigations conducted by the IAEA over the past several years had yielded a technically coherent picture of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme, even though Iraq had not supplied full responses to all of the Agency's questions and concerns.
The IAEA's Director-General was asked to provide information on whether the necessary technical and substantive clarifications have been made by Iraq, including responses to all IAEA questions and concerns, in his report due on 11 October and to submit a status report by the end of July. The Council affirmed its intention, upon receipt of a report from him stating that those clarifications have been made, to agree in a resolution that the IAEA dedicate resources to implement its ongoing monitoring and verification activities as approved under resolution 715 (1991).
The Council acknowledged that the Agency was focusing most of its resources on implementing and strengthening its monitoring and verification
activities under that resolution. It noted that the IAEA will continue to exercise its right to investigate any aspect of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme, particularly through the follow-up of any new information developed by the Agency or provided by Member States, and to destroy, remove or render harmless any prohibited items discovered through such investigations.
The Special Commission and the IAEA must discharge their mandates with full Iraqi cooperation in all areas, the Council noted, including fulfilment of its obligation to provide full, final and complete declarations of all aspects of its prohibited programmes for weapons of mass destruction and missiles. The Council also looked forward to the holding of a technical meeting with UNSCOM's Executive Chairman, as a follow-up to the review of sanctions held by the Council on 27 April.
The meeting, which was called to order at 12:14 p.m., was adjourned at 12:24 p.m.
The text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1998/11, reads as follows:
"The Security Council has reviewed the report of 16 April 1998 from the Executive Chairman of the Untied Nations Special Commission (S/1998/332) and the report of 9 April 1998 from the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (S/1998/312). The Council welcomes the improved access provided to the Special Commission and the IAEA by the Government of Iraq following the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Secretary-General on 23 February 1998 (S/1998/166) and the adoption of its resolution 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998. The Council calls for continued implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding.
"The Security Council expresses the hope that the agreement by the Government of Iraq to fulfil its obligation to provide immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to the Special Commission and the IAEA will reflect a new Iraqi spirit with regard to providing accurate and detailed information in all areas of concern to the Special Commission and the IAEA as required by the relevant resolutions.
"The Security Council expresses its concern that the most recent reports of the Special Commission, including the reports of the Technical Evaluation Meetings (S/1998/176 and S/1998/308), indicate that Iraq has not provided full disclosure in a number of critical areas, in spite of repeated requests from the Special Commission, and calls upon Iraq to do so. The Council encourages the Special Commission to continue its efforts to improve its effectiveness
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and efficiency and looks forward to a technical meeting of the members of the Council with the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission as a follow-up to the review of sanctions held by the Council on 27 April 1998.
"The Security Council notes that the Special Commission and the IAEA must discharge their mandates as defined under resolutions 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991 and 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991 with full Iraqi cooperation in all areas, including fulfilment by Iraq of its obligation to provide full, final and complete declarations of all aspects of its prohibited programmes for weapons of mass destruction and missiles.
"The Security Council notes that the investigations by the IAEA over the past several years have yielded a technically coherent picture of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme, although Iraq has not supplied full responses to all of the questions and concerns of the IAEA, including those specified in paragraphs 24 and 27 of the report of the Director General of 9 April 1998.
"The Council affirms its intention, given the progress of the IAEA, and in line with paragraphs 12 and 13 of resolution 687, to agree in a resolution that the IAEA dedicate its resources to implement the ongoing monitoring and verification activities of the IAEA under resolution 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, upon receipt of a report from the Director General of the IAEA stating that the necessary technical and substantive clarifications have been made, including provision by Iraq of the necessary responses to all IAEA questions and concerns, in order to permit full implementation of the ongoing monitoring and verification plan approved by resolution 715 (1991). In this regard, the Council requests the Director General of the IAEA to provide this information in his report due on 11 October 1998 and to submit a status report by the end of July 1998 for possible action at that time.
"The Security Council acknowledges that the IAEA is focusing most of its resources on the implementation and strengthening of its activities under the ongoing monitoring and verification plan. The Council notes that, within the framework of its ongoing monitoring and verification responsibilities, the IAEA will continue to exercise its right to investigate any aspect of Iraq's clandestine nuclear program, in particular through the follow-up of any new information developed by the IAEA or provided by Member States and to destroy, remove or render harmless any prohibited items discovered through such investigations falling under resolutions 687 (1991) and 707 (1991) in conformity with the IAEA's ongoing monitoring and verification plan approved by resolution 715 (1991)."
Reports by UNSCOM, IAEA
In its consideration of the regime governing the disarmament of Iraq, the Council had before it reports by Richard Butler, the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, and by IAEA Director-General Mohamed Elbaradei.
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The UNSCOM report (document S/1998/332 of 16 April) reviews a "period of crisis" which began on 29 October 1997, when the Government of Iraq announced policy decisions imposing unacceptable conditions on the conduct of the Commission's work within Iraq. That crisis came to a close during the Secretary-General's visit to Baghdad, with the signing on 23 February 1998 of a Memorandum of Understanding between Iraq and the United Nations.
According to the Executive Chairman, the Memorandum reconfirmed Iraq's acceptance of all relevant resolutions of the Security Council and reiterated its undertaking to cooperate fully with the Commission and the IAEA. It also established a special procedure for the inspection of eight presidential sites in Iraq, while providing that all other covered areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation would be subject to the Commission's established procedures.
However, the Memorandum did more than end an increasingly dangerous situation, he goes on to say. It also provided an important means through which the Commission could discharge its mandate. That mandate has two parts: the identification, destruction, removal or rendering harmless of Iraq's proscribed weapons and related components, items and facilities; and the maintenance of a system of ongoing monitoring and verification to ensure that they are not reconstituted in the future.
In the Memorandum of Understanding, Iraq made a commitment to accord the Commission and the IAEA immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to the sites, documents and persons to which it needs to have access in discharging its mandate, the report states. Such access and the conduct of inspections are an important means through which the Commission approaches its prime objective -- its "process". However, the objective or substance of its work is the removal of Iraq's proscribed weapons and capabilities.
Iraq's insistence that it has already made available to the Commission all the materials and information it needs to verify that it no longer holds prohibited weapons or systems is significant, the Executive Chairman states. Its promise in the Memorandum of Understanding to comply henceforth with the Council's requirements is also of major potential significance. During the reporting period, there was also a significant trend towards substituting considering of "process" issues for those relating to the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of Iraq's prohibited weapons and systems.
"A major consequence of the four-month crisis authored by Iraq has been that, in contrast with the prior reporting period, virtually no progress in verifying disarmament has been able to be reported", Mr. Butler states. "If this is what Iraq intended by the crisis, then, in large measure, it could be said to have been successful." Nevertheless, "Iraq's heightened policy of disarmament by declaration, no matter how vigorously pursued or stridently
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voiced, cannot remove the need for verification as the key means through which the credibility of its claim can be established".
The Memorandum of Understanding contains a clear promise by Iraq of compliance with Council resolutions and decisions and full cooperation with the Commission, he goes on to say. "It is thus a document of irreducible significance. If Iraq offers full and real cooperation, it will not find the Commission lacking in its willingness or ability to verify honestly, with a high degree of scientific and technical competence and with all possible dispatch, materials that would validate Iraq's claim and lead to a full accounting in all weapons areas."
The report of the IAEA Director General (document A/1998/312 of 9 April), covering the period 1 October 1997 to 1 April 1998, states that the Agency's ongoing monitoring and verification work had not revealed indications of the existence in Iraq of prohibited equipment or materials or of the conduct of prohibited activities. Iraq had satisfactorily completed its undertaking to produce a consolidated version of its full, final and complete declaration of its clandestine nuclear programme. Iraq had also fulfilled its obligations to produce a document containing a summary of the technical achievement of its clandestine nuclear programme.
However, paragraph 24 of the report states that Iraq had been asked to provide a statement on the status of its obligations, particularly to enact penal laws to prohibit all natural and legal persons under Iraq's jurisdiction from undertaking any activity that was prohibited for it by the Council's resolutions or the Agency's ongoing monitoring and verification plan. According to the Iraqi counterpart of the IAEA Iraq Action Team, the required penal laws are under active consideration. Paragraph 27 of the report states that a written request had been made to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq to determine whether any official Iraqi document existed to record a government- level decision to abandon the clandestine nuclear programme.
The IAEA Nuclear Monitoring Group carried out, during the period under review, 211 monitoring inspections at some 93 locations, of which 18 were done at sites not previously inspected. The number of inspections carried out to date now totalled almost 1,250. The majority of them were done without prior announcement, and a number were also conducted in cooperation with the monitoring groups of UNSCOM. No indication of prohibited materials, equipment or activities was detected during those inspections.
The report says that IAEA and UNSCOM had continued their implementation of a joint programme of inspection of Iraqi sites which, in their judgement, were deemed to have capabilities suitable for conducting work on some aspect of weapons of mass destruction, notwithstanding the lack of evidence or indication of such work. Some 45 such capable sites had been inspected with no indication of prohibited equipment, materials or activities being detected.
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