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The Role of International Monitoring, Inspection and Verification in Arms Control and Disarmament - the case of Iraq

Lecture by Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC at the Second Training Course of UNMOVIC

Paris, 7 November 2000

Prohibitions of use of specific weapons – like the dum-dum bullet, poison and bacteriological and chemical weapons - were agreed upon long ago. Some, back in the 19th century. They were not coupled with any provisions about inspection. It was felt that any violation - any use of a prohibited weapon – would be manifest. Not even fact-finding mechanisms were coupled with the prohibitions, though such have been created separately later. The enforcement, similarly, did not rely on any special mechanisms. Retaliation - possibly in kind - was an option. It was widely believed that Germany’s non-use of gas and other chemical weapons during the Second World War was induced by the awareness that such weapons existed on the other side as well, and that any use – which would be evident - would trigger retaliation.

After the Second World War, the old prohibitions of use have been supplemented by prohibitions or restrictions in the production and possession of some weapons. Some of these rules have been in bilateral agreements, as between the United States and the former Soviet Union, others have been in regional or global treaties, as the NPT and the CWC, yet others have been UN injunctions, like the UNSC resolution 687 (1991) regarding Iraq.

A common feature of the new instruments is the inclusion of obligations regarding inspection. The possession or production of a category of weapons is not as evident as the use of weapons. Hence, the need to verify respect for the prohibition. Nowhere is such need greater than as regards bans on the production or possession of weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical, biological - and means of delivering them by missiles. If a State is to renounce such weapons and exclude them from their arsenals, it will want to rest very sure that other States - not least those in its own region have similarly excluded the weapons. The verification must be effective. If it is cosmetic, it might risk to lull into unjustified confidence resulting in terrible surprises.

Before on-site inspection became generally accepted, satellite observation was a means of verification, which avoided the admission of foreign inspectors on the ground.  However, when such admission became internationally accepted, the common pattern of verification became one consisting of:

declarations by the inspected party - of relevant sites and/or objects.

verification of the declarations, including on-site inspection.

The best-known case following this pattern was the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968, the Treaty in which non-nuclear-weapon States pledged not to acquire such weapons and nuclear-weapon States promised negotiations on disarmament. This case deserves several comments:

First, the working out of the verification system - the safeguards operated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met many difficulties. While States were keen to see inspection of nuclear installations in other States to give confidence, they were not so keen to accept international inspectors on their own territory and in their own nuclear installations. The old sense of right of exclusive control over one’s own territory reacted against the idea of inspection by outsiders. At the same time, it was realized that self-inspection would not help to create confidence. The result, one might say, was a compromise. The State was to declare all of its fissile material and where it was located; the IAEA was to examine the declarations like an accountant verifying the books of a bank. But it was also to inspect the fissile material - like the bank accountant checking on the securities in a vault. For each installation, a special arrangement was to be drawn up, specifying, inter alia, strategic points which would be accessible to inspectors and at which cameras or monitors might be placed. In addition, seals could be placed on equipment or passages to give assurance that they were not used.

There were few provisions for inspection outside declared facilities and installations. “Special inspections” were possible, however, if there were strong suspicions about the existence of locations with non-declared material. No information leading to such suspicions surfaced until 1992 in the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It is worth noting that the information in that case rested in part upon satellite imagery - a source of evidence, which had not until then been available to the IAEA.

The second comment is that the revelations which came with the first IAEA inspections in Iraq in 1991 under resolution 687 (1991) and which demonstrated that Iraq had a clandestine programme of enrichment of uranium, at the same time, demonstrated that the IAEA’s safeguards system - which had failed to spot the programme - was inadequate. It was concluded that the system would have to be radically strengthened to give confidence and to avoid suggesting to the world that all was well, when the reality was otherwise. The process of strengthening IAEA safeguards resulted in the acceptance in 1997 of a new protocol. It also resulted in the Agency looking for procurement patterns, satellite imagery and obtaining intelligence.

The third comment is that although the IAEA safeguards system was the central element in the verification under the NPT, other factors were also of importance. The Treaty was adopted at a time when the concerns about a further spread of nuclear weapons were focused on industrialized countries like Germany, Japan, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland. These were open democratic societies, whose free media and full freedom of speech would create a transparency making it difficult to hide an undeclared nuclear programme. The system was less adequate for closed societies where people and media were controlled.

A fourth comment is that confidence in States’ commitments not to acquire nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction may be boosted by arrangements ensuing that neighbours or States in a region make the same commitment. There will be less inducement for a State to violate its own commitment, if it is reasonably confident that its neighbours are respecting the same commitment. Hence, the numerous and successful efforts to create nuclear-weapon-free zones - for Latin America (Tlatelolco Treaty), for Africa (Pelindaba Treaty), for South Pacific (Rarotonga Treaty), for South-East Asia (Bangkok Treaty). Where they exist such treaties, supplement and strengthen the NPT. The proposal for a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction is based on this concept. More about it later.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is similar in concept to the NPT as regards verification. (But it is different in that here the five nuclear-weapon States assume the same obligations as other parties not to possess any chemical weapons). The Biological Weapons Convention, lastly, is similar to the CWC, except that it does not yet have a verification system. For long-range missiles, sadly, there is no global treaty yet.

Let me now turn to the case of Iraq and UNSC resolution 687 (1991). As you will know, Iraq used chemical weapons in the war against Iran and it used such weapons also against its own citizens. While the Chemical Weapons Convention was not operative at the time, the Iraqi actions were nevertheless a breach of the 1925 Geneva Protocol. After the end of the Gulf War, the IAEA found that Iraq had violated its obligations under the NPT and under its safeguards agreement and was perhaps a year away from a nuclear weapon. UNSCOM uncovered an extensive programme for advanced chemical weapons and another for biological weapons. Iraq used long-range missiles against Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia, but it never - as far as we know - used its biological weapons in the Gulf War.

Resolution 687 adopted by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter in connection with the cease-fire with Iraq after the Gulf War, stipulated that Iraq must be rid of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and capacity to produce such weapons and missiles. To give effect to this binding injunction - accepted by Iraq - the Security Council stipulated that Iraq should promptly declare all relevant items to IAEA and UNSCOM. These organizations were then to inspect and verify items and sites declared, and other sites which they thought relevant; they were further to ensure the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all relevant items, installations, facilities. When the Security Council agreed that all this had been completed, the sanctions, notably the prohibition to buy Iraqi oil, would be lifted (paragraph 22). Thus, this prohibition was intended to serve as a powerful incentive for Iraq to declare all prohibited items and programmes and to cooperate with UNSCOM and the IAEA in their elimination. Iraq could have used resolution 687 and the procedure laid down in it as a way of getting rid of the sanctions even in 1991. Indeed, that was the expectation of the Security Council. The verification, inspection and destruction phase would then have been followed by monitoring to give confidence that no new proscribed programmes were started. Plans for such programmes were submitted and approved by the Security Council, in 1991.

Regrettably, Iraq did not use the opportunity offered by resolution 687 but declared relevant items only grudgingly and often only after UNSCOM or the IAEA had uncovered them through other means. Instead of the cooperation, which had been envisaged between Iraq and UNSCOM and the IAEA, what has been termed a ‘cat and mouse’ play lasting many years ensued. The UN bodies were obliged to make use of their very extensive inspection rights and to act like detectives. Iraq, resented the intrusive measures used but did not provide the full declarations that would have made such intensive inspections unnecessary.

Over the years, much work by the two UN bodies, grudging cooperation by Iraq, assistance by other governments, and information from defectors resulted in the destruction of many weapons and installations. It must be understood, however, that although the two UN bodies performed extensive and intensive inspections, Iraq, at all times, had the full executive power. At any time, it could physically deny or delay access to sites, installations, individuals or documents which the inspectors wanted to visit or see.

The years during which Iraq could not sell any oil and was thus deprived of means to purchase provisions, equipment and spare parts abroad, added to the long years of destructive war with Iran and the Gulf War, naturally led to a severe erosion of Iraq’s productive capacity. A country blessed with a great historical and cultural heritage, with both oil and water, having developed an impressive industrial capacity and high-level educational and health systems, was thrown back to misery. After various efforts to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Security Council, adopted the so-called ‘oil for food programme’, permitting Iraq to sell specific quantities of oil to enable it to purchase food, medicine and other humanitarian items. While Iraq renounced the resolution, when it was adopted in 1995, it later changed its attitude and the programme started at the end of 1996.

The years of UNSCOM and the IAEA inspections, while sadly not achieving the goal set in 1991 by resolution 687, brought many valuable lessons in the development of techniques of inspection, verification and monitoring. Satellite imagery was used routinely, but also other overhead imagery from the U-2 planes, Mirage planes and helicopters; the importance of access to records and documentation and to relevant researchers and managers was understood; the greater credibility which inspections achieved when there was short or no-notice was equally realized; the usefulness of environmental samples was discovered; and, of course, the importance of the rights of immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access, which the Security Council prescribed - the absence of any sanctuaries - was seen throughout the process.

Despite all these advances that were achieved in the methods and techniques of inspection, verification and monitoring, it also came to be understood that the effort could never bring total clarity about the Iraqi programmes and never total assurance that everything relevant had been destroyed or otherwise neutralized. In any large country, with a large administration, large military and industrial programmes, it is simply not possible to lay hands on all records and every little piece of equipment that might be linked to proscribed programmes. There will inevitably be a residue of unknowns and of uncertainty. This was acknowledged in the Report that preceded resolution 1284 (Amorim Report). In my view, it is for the inspecting organizations - UNMOVIC and the IAEA - to try to assess to the best of their ability how large that residue may be and it is for the Security Council to determine how much it will tolerate by way of question marks before it decides to lift - or suspend - sanctions.

For Iraq, this inability of the inspecting bodies to give what has been termed ‘clean bill of health’ is annoying. The Iraqi authorities have sometimes claimed that if they say there is nothing more to declare and if the inspecting body cannot prove there is something more, the conclusion must be drawn that there is nothing more. Expressed otherwise, the burden of proof is on the inspector. If the inspector does not have evidence, the inspected must be acquitted. As in a case before the court. The argument may sound persuasive but is, I submit, misleading. We are not in a situation where we shall establish guilt. We are in a situation where Iraq is requested to show that its proscribed programmes have been neutralized – by declarations, by openness and by full cooperation. Inconsistencies, denials of access, failure to explain data, which need clarification, will all cast doubt that need be dispelled.

It would seem that by the end of 1998 when inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq, the fewest question marks attached to the nuclear dossier: a very extensive documentation of the programme was available and the logic and coherence of the programme was understood. While isolated questions remained, unidentified computer programmes and even pieces of equipment could continue to exist, and the scientists and engineers certainly were still about, the infrastructure was deemed destroyed.

At the same time - end of 1998 - the largest number of question marks, both in the assessment of UNSCOM and of outside international experts, attached to the biological weapons programme.

What has happened to Iraq’s four proscribed weapons programmes since the end of 1998, we do not know. We have no declarations by Iraq in this regard, no inspection reports and there seems to be no significant evidence in the public domain. Renewed inspection, verification and monitoring on the ground are needed to ensure that the past programmes are adequately cleared up and neutralized, and that no new programmes emerge.

After the end of inspections - in December 1998 - it took about a year before the Security Council had worked out and adopted a new resolution - 1284 - governing inspections (and a number of other matters) in Iraq. The new resolution - which is UNMOVIC’s charter - brings a number of important innovations.

First, it does not supersede but supplements resolution 687 (1991). That resolution is still operative and enables the Security Council to lift all restrictions on Iraq’s exports, if it determines that all the proscribed programmes have been destroyed and neutralized. The resolution of 1999 opens a new option, however, in enabling the Council to decide on a suspension of what now remains of the sanctions, provided that UNMOVIC and the IAEA report that Iraq has ‘cooperated in all respects’ with them during 120 days and made progress in resolving ‘key remaining disarmament tasks’.

Thus, while a full lifting of sanctions was - and is - possible under resolution 687 for full destruction and neutralization, a suspension of sanctions is now, additionally possible in return for cooperation and progress on key disarmament issues.

Secondly, the sanctions - notably the ban on the purchase of oil from Iraq - are drastically alleviated in that UN Members are permitted to buy any amount of oil Iraq is willing and able to sell - under the oil for food programme. However, the proceeds flow into special UN accounts and Iraq cannot use them to buy weapons. There are also restrictions imposed on the import of a large number of dual-use items, some of which may be of importance for a revival of the Iraqi economy.

Thirdly, resolution 1284 creates the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to succeed UNSCOM and while its rights and duties remain largely the same as those of UNSCOM, its structure, staffing, management and conduct of work are modified in several respects.

UNSCOM had to rely on the voluntary contribution of Member States for staff, equipment and much else. As the States, which made such contributions, were somewhat limited in number, the organization and its staff came to be perceived as not representatives of the UN as a whole. UNMOVIC receives its financial resources from the UN - ultimately from 0.8% of the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales - and can employ its expert staff broadly from the UN membership. It can also purchase the equipment it needs wherever the quality is adequate and the price competitive. While it may receive donated equipment, it is not dependent upon such gifts. It does look to all Member States for various kinds of assistance, however, in keeping with resolution 1284.

While UNSCOM distinguished between inspections aiming at uncovering and neutralizing Iraq’s proscribed programmes and ongoing monitoring and verification designed to prevent any revival of such programmes, UNMOVIC is instructed to merge the two activities into one reinforced system of ongoing monitoring and verification. That is to say: looking for what may remain of the past Iraqi programmes of WMD and for any signs of revived activities in this field is done in one and the same operation.

It is necessary to be aware not only of the prerogatives of UNMOVIC, but also of the limitations of its mission and of the means it can employ to fulfil it.

First, it should be noted that the mission is limited to verifying and achieving the destruction or neutralization of Iraq’s WMD and long-range missiles and monitoring that no new capacity to make them is built up. UNMOVIC and the IAEA are not dealing with Iraq’s capacity in the field of conventional weapons. Knowledge about that sector should not be sought unless relevant to proscribed items and where such knowledge is acquired incidentally, it should be kept confidential.

Secondly, Article 2.4 of the UN Charter states that the organization shall respect the territorial integrity and political independence of all Members. That principle is recognized and respected by the Security Council. The resolutions governing UNMOVIC’s work authorize no activities undermining Iraq’s territorial integrity and political independence. It seems evident that the inspection authority has neither any right nor, indeed, any capacity to undertake such activities. UN personnel are unarmed inspectors with specific and far-reaching rights to perform their jobs, but the authorities and forces of the Iraqi government exercise executive control of the territory. Disregard on their part of the rights of the inspecting organizations and their staff will lead to complaints and protests and will be regarded as non-cooperation. However, it cannot be physically prevented. The UN system has not sent an occupation army but weapons inspectors. Nor, incidentally, has it set up an organization for espionage. We shall make no use of electronic eavesdropping, whether or not such activity would fall within what Security Council resolutions authorize. UNMOVIC is to work with the methods authorized by the Security Council. It may well receive information - e.g. through governments - collected by intelligence, but it is not itself collecting any information illegally. Moreover, intelligence received will be critically analysed before any use is made of it.

Thirdly, in some resolutions of the Security Council and in the Memorandum of Understanding reached by the Secretary-General of the UN and the Government of Iraq in February 1998 - on entries by inspection into presidential sites, reference is made to respect for ‘national security’, ‘sovereignty’ and ‘dignity’. What restrictions follow for UNMOVIC from these notions? Evidently, it is the Security Council that will judge whether any particular activity would violate these precepts. Iraq could lodge complaints to the Council, but its assessment would not be conclusive for the Council. Moreover, over the years, the Security Council has indicated what, in its view, effective inspection requires and it can hardly be objected that any type of action authorized by the Council could violate the ‘sovereignty’ of Iraq. However, the sovereignty of Iraq implies that the laws of Iraq - for instance, regarding commerce and traffic - shall be respected by the inspecting party, unless requirements of Security Council resolutions, e.g. intervention against trade in proscribed items, suggest otherwise.

While recognizing that Iraq may claim respect for its ‘national security’ and ‘dignity’, the Security Council has not allowed such claims to exempt any sites in Iraq from inspection or monitoring. I-->deed, that Memorandum of Understanding, which I mentioned, confirmed that even eight defined ‘presidential sites’ were subject to ‘entries’ by the inspecting authority. However, in deference to the dignity of the state of Iraq, it laid down some special procedures for such entries, including the presence of a group of diplomatic representatives. So-called ‘sensitive sites’ are also subject to inspection, but special procedures may be used. The bottom line is thus that there may be special procedures in the case of some sites but there are no sanctuaries.

Special lectures at this basic training course will focus very concretely on how monitoring, verification and inspection are to be performed. Let me only say the following in this introductory lecture.

First, let me repeat that inspection must be effective. Cosmetic inspection is worse than none. Inspection has higher credibility if the inspected party does not know in advance when and where inspection will take place. Hence, the need for no-notice or short notice inspection.

Second, UNMOVIC is engaged in the process of working out a manual with guidelines for various kinds of inspection. Naturally, we are studying the ‘standard operating procedures’ of UNSCOM and the long years of practice of UNSCOM and the IAEA. Where we find their procedures and practices rational and appropriate, we shall adopt them. We seek no change for the sake of change.

Thirdly, while discussing the past nine years, Iraq has seemed often to regard inspection as a penalty to be suffered and minimized rather than an opportunity that should be maximized. UNMOVIC will not assume that this attitude will continue. Indeed, whatever remains of the proscribed programmes, the prospect of suspension or lifting of sanctions, which is there if UN demands are fulfilled, would seem to be far more valuable than any retention of remnants of proscribed programmes.

Fourthly, regardless of what attitude is taken by Iraq, inspections are to be carried out firmly and correctly. There is no aim to harass or provoke. But there is an aim to be aware of the history, culture and religions in Iraq and to show respect for them. Hospitals, religious places, are not off bounds for inspection, nor is UNMOVIC precluded from activities on religious days but special regard and respect may be called for.

Let me now turn to some rather special but important features of the mandate given to UNMOVIC by the Security Council.

In paragraph 33 of resolution 1284, it is stipulated - as I have noted - that the Council intends to ‘suspend’ the economic restrictions imposed, if the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA report that Iraq has ‘cooperated in all respects … in fulfilling the work programmes’ for a period of 120 days and - paragraph 34 - that this cooperation comprises progress in resolving ‘key remaining disarmament tasks’.

We would all wish that such cooperation materialize so that it can be reported to the Security Council and suspension take place under resolution 1284. The further aim, of course, is a lifting of sanctions under the 1991 resolution. However, we will need to consider carefully what we should regard as ‘cooperation in all respects’ and what would be considered non-cooperation. We can hardly come to any exhaustive answer, but we may find some helpful leads.

All inspections and verification are most successful if there is practical spontaneous cooperation between the inspected party and the inspecting party. An inspected party cannot, alone, create confidence about the absence of weapons, by simply claiming to be without them. It needs the inspectors. But the work of the inspectors will be made difficult, if the inspected party does not cooperate - even more so if it provides a hostile uncooperative environment. Suspicions will remain. Even with the best of cooperation, an inspection authority will not be able to say categorically ‘there are no prohibited items’. It can only report that it has pursued very extensive verification and inspection with wholehearted cooperation and it has found no evidence of any prohibited items. If it can report excellent cooperation by the inspected party, the Security Council is not likely to worry about that minor uncertainty.

Iraq can very legitimately demand to be clearly told what is required of it by way of cooperation. Therefore, I think it is important that UNMOVIC’s operating procedures for monitoring, verification and inspection be clear and precise. Iraq must know what cooperation is expected. We cannot, of course, ask Iraq to do things that are undoable. But rejection by Iraq of requests with contrived explanations cannot be viewed as adequate explanations.

There needs to be cooperation on various down-to-earth practical matters. For instance, Iraq will be requested to file many reports about the status of sites monitored and changes of such sites. To avoid unnecessary burden of reporting and of analysing reports, we may discuss with Iraq the questions to be put. The reports should be in such form that they could be recorded electronically. This may prevent questions already answered, to be repeated.

UNMOVIC will need to have practical arrangements with Iraq about the escort of and assistance to inspection and monitoring teams. Much of what UNSCOM did in this regard will probably still be practical. However, these are matters on which discussion with Iraq may be needed.

A last example. As I mentioned, the identification by UNMOVIC of ‘key remaining disarmament tasks (paragraph 7) is important. So important, indeed, that it will be the subject of Security Council approval in the context of UNMOVIC’s working plan. However, before we get to that stage, we need to list what we regard as ‘unresolved disarmament issues’ (paragraph 2). This is no small task. Our new staff has been engaged in it for some time, examining UNSCOM reports to the Security Council, inspection reports and other data. When we have come to a draft inventory of issues, it might perhaps be transmitted to the Iraqi authorities for their comments. If they decline to comment or if they were simply to assert that there are no ‘unresolved disarmament issues’, it would not be very helpful - or very cooperative. If, on the other hand, credible and convincing reasons or new information were given why one or the other issue should be seen as solved, then we should examine the arguments or information seriously. Of course, any attempt to turn such an exchange into a negotiation would be unacceptable. We shall establish our list on a professional and objective basis, but it is only fair to listen to comments, in particular from Iraq.

What would we regard as ‘lack of cooperation’? It is not possible, of course, to give a list, but let me give two obvious and important examples: the first example that comes to mind relates to ‘access to sites’. While - as I have explained - special procedures exist for the inspection or entries into some sites, the Security Council has firmly and repeatedly established that access shall be ‘immediate, unconditional and unrestricted’. Denial of access would be a failure of cooperation. The other example is security. The basic documents on which we carry out our missions in Iraq stipulate that the Iraqi authorities shall facilitate our work, inter alia, by providing security for our staff. This applies to all staff, regardless of nationality. The authorities of Iraq have full executive power and any failure to exercise that in the protection of our staff, equipment or operations would be a failure of cooperation.

Some important points in resolution 1284 relate to the timetable of our UNMOVIC’s mission. From the Iraqi side, concerns have been voiced that, after eight years of inspection by UNSCOM and the IAEA, acceptance of the new resolution might mean starting from scratch again. I think such concerns are unfounded. In one of the preambular paragraphs of resolution 1284, the Security Council expressly acknowledges the progress made by Iraq towards compliance with resolution 687. UNMOVIC does not start from scratch but from where UNSCOM left off. Indeed, part of the heavy work we are engaged in is to examine the voluminous dossiers accumulated by UNSCOM. What then is the timetable? First, we are using the time before Iraq accepts resolution 1284 to intense preparation for our mission, training staff, analysing data available and obtaining new data through other means than on-site inspection. Thereafter? Let me think aloud! From the moment Iraq accepts resolution 1284, and there is a decision to resume activities in Iraq, a new clock would start to tick.

Operation of paragraph 7 of resolution 1284 stipulates that not later than 60 days after UNMOVIC and the IAEA “have both started to work in Iraq”, each will draw up for approval by the Council “a work programme for the discharge of their mandates”. We can hardly interpret “started to work” to mean the day of Iraqi acceptance of resolution 1284, nor the first day we set our foot in Baghdad. If our work is to start where UNSCOM left off, we need to cover the information gap that has opened since the end of 1998, when the inspection and monitoring activity ceased. There are several hundred sites of varying importance for which data existed at that time and for which new data will need to be given by Iraq - data that will then need to be verified. This - rebaselining - process will be important for our task to draw up a work programme. It would be desirable that this task be completed before we start drawing up the work programme. The completion will depend upon several factors, notably cooperation by the Iraqi authorities. On the assumption that this cooperation is forthcoming, it would not seem unrealistic to expect that the part of the rebaselining that is essential as a basis for drawing up the work programme, could be undertaken within some three months. Hence, it should be possible to commence the drawing up of the work programme some three months after Iraq has submitted the information requested to update the records that existed for sites monitored at the end of 1998.

There is yet another point that is important for the UNMOVIC timetable. Paragraph 33 of resolution 1284 required reports that Iraq has ‘cooperated in all respects’ with UNMOVIC and that IAEA for a period of 120 days in fulfilment of the work programme, the time counted from reports from both organizations that the reinforced system of OMV “is fully operational”. When is that?

I take it that “full operation” of the system means that surveillance and containment systems - e.g. cameras, monitoring equipment and seals - are in place and that inspection and monitoring teams are in place. Achieving this obviously depends upon UNMOVIC but also on Iraqi cooperation. On the assumption that the requisite cooperation is offered, perhaps one would dare to hope that the system should be “fully operational” at the time when the Security Council gives the green light to the ‘work programme’?

Anyone can add together the periods I have discussed. They do not amount to an endless timetable. UNMOVIC will work with all deliberate speed. If Iraq is equally committed to ‘cooperate in all respects’ the light at the end of the tunnel need not be that far away.

Let me conclude by comments on some important organizational matters and on the aims beyond UNMOVIC’s immediate mission.

UNMOVIC is a subsidiary organ of the Security Council. However, although it has a separate budget and autonomy in its internal decision-making, it does not exist in isolation to the Secretariat of the UN, nor, indeed, to some other bodies in the UN system. Our reports are channelled to the Security Council through the Secretary-General and we have at all times a close liaison with his office. His mandate is global and his views and actions concerning weapons of mass destruction, the Middle East and Iraq are of relevance to UNMOVIC, just as our views and actions regarding Iraq are of relevance to him. We have a close and fruitful cooperation with the office of the Secretary-General and with the Department for Disarmament Affairs. We are further dependant on the UN Secretariat for advice on some legal issues, for administrative support and assistance. We have further close contact with the Office of the Iraq Programme, which administers the oil for food programme. Our office in Baghdad is co-located with the offices of the UN humanitarian activities and it is important that we realize that their activities and ours are not at variance. Both serve - in their different ways - humanitarian purposes. We fully concur with the efforts to alleviate some of the consequences of the sanctions. And I am sure that those who are responsible for the humanitarian programme share our ambition to rid Iraq of its capacity in the field of WMD and long-range missiles. We further have close cooperation with and many actions jointly with the IAEA.

Besides the Centre in Baghdad, we hope to have an office in Bahrain, where our inspectors can gather and prepare for flying into Iraq. A building constructed for UNSCOM stands ready and we expect soon to have an agreement with Bahrain about our use of the building and about the conditions for our transiting activities in Bahrain.

I have stressed that UNMOVIC is a subsidiary body of the Security Council and that resolution 1284 is our charter. I should add that the Council has also created a College of Commissioners to give us policy advice. Our reports to the Council are channelled through this College, which consists of 16 members appointed in their personal expert capacity by the Secretary-General. As the College is representative of the UN membership and of the Security Council, it may help us to devise policies and action that will have the support of the Council – provided, of course, that agreement can be reached within the College. The experience so far has been very good. Needless to say, the Security Council’s consensus support for UNMOVIC activities is important for their effectiveness and success. It is our interest to facilitate such consensus and the College is one instrument that can be used for this purpose.

Eliminating Iraq’s WMD and long-range missiles and monitoring its capacity is, indeed, the mission of UNMOVIC as it was that of UNSCOM. However, both resolutions 687 of 1991 and 1284 of 1999 show that there is a Security Council aim that goes beyond this difficult task. There is the aim to establish a zone free of WMD in the Middle East and the neutralization of Iraq’s WMD capacity is seen as a step in this direction. All countries - including Iraq - seek to live in a long-term strategic military equilibrium in their region. To prevent incentives to bring about equilibrium by the acquisition of more arms, in particular, WMD, regional approaches are needed which seek to guarantee equilibrium at low levels of armaments and without WMD. All States in the region endorse the creation of a zone free of WMD in the Middle East. Needless to say, the current crisis on the peace process is not conducive to progress. Nevertheless, the aim represents a vital long-term ambition and the experiences we make in Iraq are likely to become of great use once the countries in the region are able to negotiate the zone into reality.

I am sometimes asked if it is not odd to build up an organization and draft guidelines for its activities without knowing whether it will ever be enabled to operate. My chief answer is that the Security Council - the highest and most powerful global authority charged with the maintenance of peace - has called the organization into being to use it for inspection and monitoring in Iraq. If we did not build up UNMOVIC, the Council would have no instrument at its disposal.

Awaiting the time when inspection activities can be resumed in Iraq, we have much preparatory work to do. That we do not start from scratch means also that we must absorb and master the vast material of knowledge that has been accumulated. The preparatory work does not require that we have hundreds of inspectors waiting in New York or Bahrain to fly in, but it does require that you all have a basic training and are ready and available for periods of work in the field or at headquarters. We are grateful to you for this readiness and when we shall ask you to serve, we think it will be for a mission that is meaningful both to the world and for yourself individually.

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