ACTING UNDER CHAPTER VII, SECURITY COUNCIL ENDORSES MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SIGNED BY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ AND SECRETARY-GENERAL19980302 Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1154 (1998), Stresses Any Violation of Its Obligations Would Have 'Severest Consequences' for Iraq
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council tonight endorsed a 23 February Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Iraq on special procedures for the inspection of eight presidential sites in Iraq. It also stressed that any violation by Iraq of its obligation to accord immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to inspection sites, as required under Council resolution 687 (1991), would have "severest consequences" for Iraq.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1154 (1998), the Council looked forward to early and full implementation of the Memorandum, which establishes a Special Group for inspection of the specified sites. The Group will include senior diplomats to be appointed by the Secretary-General, in addition to members of the Special Commission on the disarmament of Iraq (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Secretary-General has appointed Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala as Commissioner to head the Special Group. The sites covered by the Memorandum include the Republican Palace and the Radwaniyah and Sijood presidential sites in Baghdad, as well as sites located at Tikrit, Tharthar, Jabal Makhul, Mosul and Basrah. The Memorandum was signed in Baghdad by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
According to the Memorandum, the special procedures shall apply to the initial and subsequent entries to the presidential sites, for the performance of mandated inspection tasks. By today's resolution, the Council asked the Secretary-General to report to it as soon as possible on the finalization of those procedures, in consultation with the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM and the Director-General of the IAEA.
The Council reaffirmed its intention to act in accordance with the relevant provisions of resolution 687 (1991) on the duration of the sanctions against Iraq and noted that Iraq's failure to comply with its relevant obligations had delayed the moment when it could do so. The Council decided that it would remain actively seized of the matter.
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Addressing the Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that while the Memorandum of Understanding had averted a crisis, it remained with the Iraqi leadership to comply with what had been signed. The Secretary-General said he was under no illusions about the value of the agreement. Commitments must be honoured -- fully, fairly and without delay. The Organization would continue to fulfil its obligation to act with respect for the sovereignty and dignity of every Member of the United Nations.
With today's resolution, the Government of Iraq fully understood that if the effort to ensure compliance through negotiation was obstructed, diplomacy might not have a second chance, he said. The current agreement looked ahead to the time when the disarmament of Iraq would be complete, and when a fully disarmed and peaceable Iraq could rejoin the community of nations. It must be remembered, he said, that even the bitterest of enemies among nations did not remain so forever. The Memorandum represented a victory for peace, reason and the resolution of conflicts by diplomacy.
Statements were also made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Brazil, Bahrain, Sweden, Gabon, Kenya, Japan, Slovenia, Portugal, China, France, United States, Russian Federation, Mexico, Pakistan, Malaysia, Argentina, Egypt, Peru and Kuwait. Council President Mamadou Sedat Jobe, the Foreign Minister of the Gambia, spoke in his national capacity.
The meeting, which was called to order at 6:42 p.m., was adjourned at 9:12 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this evening to consider the situation between Iraq and Kuwait. It had before it two letters from the Secretary-General. Attached to his letter dated 25 February (document S/1998/166) is a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Iraq which he signed with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on 23 February in Baghdad.
Annexed to the Secretary-General's letter of 27 February (S/1998/166/Add.1) is the report of the United Nations Technical Mission, which he sent to Iraq to survey the "presidential sites" (annex I), and a copy of his letter of 21 February transmitting the report to Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister (annex II).
According to the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, Iraq undertakes to grant the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access in conformity with relevant Council resolutions, including resolutions 687 (1991) and 715 (1991). In carrying out its mandate, UNSCOM undertakes to respect Iraq's legitimate concerns relating to national security, sovereignty and dignity.
Both sides agree on the special procedures for the initial and subsequent entries to the eight presidential sites as defined in the annex to the Memorandum. A Special Group shall be established by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM and the Director-General of the IAEA. The Secretary-General will appoint a Commissioner to head the Group, which will be comprised of senior diplomats, also appointed by him, and experts drawn from UNSCOM and the IAEA. The Special Group shall operate under established UNSCOM and IAEA procedures and specific detailed procedures which will be developed given the special nature of the presidential sites, in accordance with relevant Council resolutions. The Special Group's report on its activities and findings shall be submitted by UNSCOM's Executive Chairman to the Council through the Secretary-General.
The eight presidential sites are the Republican Palace and Radwaniyah and Sijood sites in Baghdad, as well as sites in Tikrit, Tharthar, Jabal Makhul, Mosul and Basra.
The United Nations and Iraq further agree that all other areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transportation shall be subject to UNSCOM's established procedures. Noting UNSCOM's progress in various disarmament areas and the need to intensify efforts in order to complete its mandate, they also agree to improve cooperation, and efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of work.
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The Memorandum states that the lifting of sanctions is obviously of paramount importance to the people and Government of Iraq and the Secretary- General undertook to bring this matter to the full attention of Council members. The United Nations, it adds, reiterates the commitment of all Member States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.
The five-member United Nations Technical Mission to Iraq visited the eight presidential sites and issued its report on 20 February.
The result of the survey of each site includes a global positioning system (GPS)-identified perimeter based on the Iraqi Government's indications. The perimeter is marked on the original map provided by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. It also includes an outline of the actual area identified as the presidential site by Iraq, with its relevant GPS points and the calculation of its total size in square metres; a list of GPS coordinates for each presidential site; two additional scale maps of each site; a list of buildings estimated to be in each site and a description of their approximate number, nature and utilization; and a complete set of photographs taken by air and by ground.
The report states the Mission went beyond its terms of reference by physically visiting as many buildings as it wished within its time-limits. It had undisturbed access and unrestricted authorization to take photographs. It also covered the sites by aerial and ground photographs more comprehensively than originally expected. Iraq gave the Mission access to relevant maps and clearly defined the perimeters for each "presidential site". For purely time- related reasons, the Mission was unable to elaborate on the maps the exact location of the buildings within each site. The report notes that some main buildings were already identified on the original maps.
During their physical ground surveys the team did not identify large office buildings or barracks, with the exception of the Republican Palace presidential site, where they found office buildings for the presidential staff involved in running the daily work of the Government. Within the Republican Palace site, the team identified a headquarters building for the Presidential Battalion and a nearby helicopter pad with two medium-size helicopter sheds. On 20 February, it visited those facilities. Apart from the above, the team noted in all other presidential sites several sentry towers and/or guard rooms, but no military barracks as such.
All eight presidential sites appeared to be well defined by high walls or fences. They all had a similar landscape pattern: main guesthouses, with an integrated system of ancillary buildings and villas for accompanying dignitaries. The total area surveyed was about 31.5 square kilometres. The largest presidential site, the Radwaniyah, totalled around 17.8 square kilometres and the smallest 0.8 square kilometres. Artificial lakes at the sites covered approximately 10.2 square kilometres.
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At Iraq's specific request, the team also surveyed internally and externally, while localizing it by GPS coordinates, a building called Al Hyatt located within the Presidential Republican Palace site. That building, which apparently in September 1997 had been a cause of contention between Iraq and UNSCOM, was photographed internally and visited extensively by the team.
The Council had before it a draft resolution (document S/1998/175), sponsored by Japan and the United Kingdom, the text of which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, which constitute the governing standard of Iraqi compliance,
"Determined to ensure immediate and full compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and the other relevant resolutions,
"Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, Kuwait and the neighbouring States,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Commends the initiative by the Secretary-General to secure commitments from the Government of Iraq on compliance with its obligations under the relevant resolutions, and in this regard endorses the memorandum of understanding signed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Secretary- General on 23 February 1998 (S/1998/166) and looks forward to its early and full implementation;
"2. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council as soon as possible with regard to the finalization of procedures for Presidential sites in consultation with the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
"3. Stresses that compliance by the Government of Iraq with its obligations, repeated again in the memorandum of understanding, to accord immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to the Special Commission and the IAEA in conformity with the relevant resolutions is necessary for the implementation of resolution 687 (1991), but that any violation would have severest consequences for Iraq;
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"4. Reaffirms its intention to act in accordance with the relevant provisions of resolution 687 (1991) on the duration of the prohibitions referred to in that resolution and notes that by its failure so far to comply with its relevant obligations Iraq has delayed the moment when the Council can do so;
"5. Decides, in accordance with its responsibility under the Charter, to remain actively seized of the matter, in order to ensure implementation of this resolution, and to secure peace and security in the area."
Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN commended the members of the Security Council for the action they were about to take with respect to the agreement reached last week with the Government of Iraq. If carried out, it could be one of the most important steps taken by the United Nations with respect to the situation concerning that country.
The Secretary-General said he had gone to Iraq seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis, as part of his sacred moral obligation and commitment to act any time or anywhere, without seeking instructions from any government, whenever such action would be helpful in reducing a grave threat to international peace and security. Iraq's refusal to honour its commitments under the Council's resolutions concerning its weapons of mass destruction constituted such a threat, which had now been averted. The full and unlimited access of United Nations inspectors to any and all inspection sites had been restored, and the authority of the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission had been recognized and strengthened.
Whether the recent threat had been averted for all time was now in the hands of the Iraqi leadership, he went on to say. They were now to comply with what they had signed on paper. The Secretary-General said he was under no illusions about the value of the agreement. Commitments must be honoured -- fully, fairly and without delay. The Organization would continue to fulfil its obligation to act with respect for the sovereignty and dignity of every Member of the United Nations. It would continue to strive to improve the effectiveness of every United Nations agency. That included UNSCOM, which had already destroyed more weapons in Iraq than did the entire Gulf war.
For its part, the Iraqi Government must now fulfil, without obstruction or delay, the continuing obligations which it reaffirmed last week at the very highest levels, he said. That meant accepting all relevant Council resolutions on the matter, cooperating with all United Nations inspection teams and according them unrestricted access to all facilities, equipment and means of transportation. That included the eight presidential sites which were addressed in the Memorandum of Understanding. Only Iraq's full
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compliance would speed the lifting of sanctions, in accordance with the Council's relevant resolutions.
With today's resolution of the Council, the Government of Iraq understood that if the effort to ensure compliance through negotiation was obstructed, diplomacy might not have a second chance, he said. No promise of peace could be without limits. The current agreement tested, as never before, the will of the Iraqi leadership to keep its word. It also called on the international community to look ahead to the time when the disarmament of Iraq would be complete. Sanctions had added greatly to the suffering of the Iraqi people. Expansion of the oil-for-food programme would help mitigate that suffering, until a fully disarmed and peaceable Iraq could rejoin the community of nations.
He said it must be remembered that even the bitterest of enemies among nations did not remain so forever. Peoples must be reconciled once their governments were at peace. Halting, at least for now, the renewal of political hostilities in the Gulf, was a victory for peace, reason and the resolution of conflicts by diplomacy -- which must be backed both by force and by fairness. The current agreement was a reminder of the reasons for the founding of the Organization, which included its effort to seek and find solutions to international problems without destroying forever a party's dignity and willingness to cooperate.
If the current exercise in diplomacy succeeded, it would provide a valuable precedent, both for the United Nations and for the world community, he said. It would mean that the planet's age-old prayer for enduring peace with justice might now be within reach. To that end, the Secretary-General pledged not to yield in the fulfilment of his duty.
Speaking before the vote, Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said the reason UNSCOM had not been able to complete its task was the direct result of "Iraqi deceit, obstruction and concealment". The crisis which led the Secretary-General to fly to Baghdad in a last-ditch effort to find a diplomatic solution was just the latest and most serious in a series of Iraqi provocations. The Secretary-General's mission had been a success for diplomacy firmly backed by the willingness to use force if it failed. Although the agreement reached in the Memorandum of Understanding was welcome, it was not enough by itself. Whether the crisis was over and UNSCOM was able to complete its work depended on whether the Iraqi regime now implemented in practice what it had signed. "We are not prepared to see a repeat of the Iraqi behaviour which led to the present crisis." For that reason, the United Kingdom and Japan had proposed and co-sponsored the draft resolution.
The draft was short and to the point, he said. It sent two important messages. First, the Council was giving its full support to the Secretary- General and to the Memorandum, which made it clear that Iraq was bound by all
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relevant resolutions and was obliged to provide immediate, unconditional access to UNSCOM anywhere in Iraq, not just in the eight "so-called" presidential sites, which have been the pretext for so much delay and obstruction. Second, the Iraqi regime had a choice. If it fulfilled its commitments under the Memorandum and complied with its obligations under the relevant resolutions, the way would be open for the lifting of sanctions. There should be a time, to which the beleaguered Iraqi people could look forward, when Iraq was able to return to the respectable company of nations.
He said if Iraq failed to comply, continued to obstruct UNSCOM's work and dishonoured the agreement it had signed with the Secretary-General, the draft resolution was absolutely clear: that would not be tolerated. The Council was determined that any violation "will be visited by the severest of consequences". If the Iraqi regime doubted the will of the international community to make good on the warning, it would, not for the first time, be making a grave mistake.
FERNANDO BERROCAL SOTO (Costa Rica) said it had not been easy to arrive at a consensus text. After several versions, the Council could now vote on a draft resolution which recognized the success of the Secretary-General's mission and endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding he had signed with Iraq in Baghdad. The Council then faced the vital need to send a clear message to Iraq of the severe and very grave circumstances under Chapter VII of the Charter if it did not comply with relevant Council resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991). Lastly, the draft resolution also underlined the importance of international law and the primacy of Council resolutions over any political considerations.
He said his Government had opposed putting any restrictions on the terms of reference or parameters of the Security Council other than those under the Charter. That position had been endorsed by all members of the Council. Costa Rica acknowledged the binding nature of the Memorandum under international law. However, it believed that the Memorandum should be backed by a resolution in case action under Chapter VII of the Charter became necessary. The draft resolution was not just a political but a legal necessity. It subscribed, without any equivocation, to the message sent to Iraq of the severest consequences if it failed to comply with the Memorandum. The text of the draft did not prejudge Council action but warned of the consequences if its terms were ignored. The legal prerogatives and consequences bound all members of the Council.
CELSO AMORIM (Brazil) said as a result of an admirable mix of firmness, patience and courage, the Secretary-General had succeeded in a mission that skeptics had considered doomed from the start. Upon receiving notice of the Memorandum of Understanding, Brazil had expressed the hope that a peaceful and lasting solution for the crisis was now feasible. The States of MERCOSUR -- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile -- had issued a joint
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statement that the solution to the crisis would lead to a durable and stable peace in the region.
The hard task of implementing the Memorandum, and verifying the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, still lay ahead, he continued. But the Secretary-General's mission, together with his determination to keep the matter under his close personal supervision, provided the Council with a fair chance to put the problem of relations between Iraq and the United Nations on a more stable basis. Future Iraqi compliance with the Memorandum would present conditions that would leave behind the cyclic pattern of crisis. The Memorandum provided a basis for the Council to ensure that Iraq strictly complied with its resolutions, in accordance with international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter.
The question of the implementation of the conditions of the cease-fire with Iraq remained firmly under the wing of the United Nations and the Security Council. Only the Council had the authority to determine if, when and under which conditions the formal cease-fire it declared in 1991 held or not. Since the beginning of informal consultations on the text, its co- sponsors had given assurances that it was not their intention to imply any automaticity in the authorization for the use of force, in the case of a possible violation by Iraq. After the changes to the text, particularly the simplified second preambular paragraph and the new formulation for the fifth operative paragraph, which are in line with resolution 687 (1991), Brazil was satisfied that nothing in the draft resolution delegated away the Council's authority under the Charter and in accordance with its own resolutions.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said the action to be taken today represented a historic juncture in the relationship between Iraq and the United Nations -- and specifically with UNSCOM and the IAEA. Mistrust had brought the work of UNSCOM to a standstill. The original timetable for the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been measured in months, but years had now passed. The increase in humanitarian supplies to Iraq at the time of the Secretary-General's visit to Baghdad had not only bolstered his mission there but demonstrated the Organization's commitment to the needs of the Iraqi people.
The litmus test now would be in the fulfilment of the commitments undertaken in the Memorandum of Understanding, he said. The current draft resolution represented a significant effort to achieve consensus. He reviewed the elements of the draft, which he described as coherent and balanced. Bahrain provided the operational headquarters of UNSCOM.
The Council had made a concentrated effort to steer away from military options, and it was hoped that a new page had been turned in the Council's dealings with Iraq, he said. That country must now cooperate in the
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inspection effort, to lead to the lifting of sanctions. Iraq should respond favourably to the United Nations efforts, so that peace might prevail throughout the entire region.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said the draft resolution contained four very important messages, each addressed in a separate paragraph. Firstly, the text endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Secretary-General and the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq. Secondly, the Council was determined to see the draft resolution implemented and would not tolerate a violation. The Council's message was firm and clear: a violation would have the severest consequences for Iraq.
Thirdly, he said, the draft resolution meant that if Iraq complied with all its obligations under relevant Council resolutions, it would be possible for the Council to lift the sanctions as stipulated in resolution 687 (1991). Fourthly, and very importantly, the Council's responsibility for international peace and security, as laid down in the Charter, must not be circumvented. The last paragraph of the draft resolution was an expression of the need to safeguard that responsibility.
DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said today's meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm the confidence which the Council placed in the Secretary-General and to endorse the Memorandum of Understanding he had signed with the Iraqi authorities. It was hoped that the Iraqi authorities would translate those commitments into reality. Strict compliance would enable the Council to consider in due course the possibility of lifting sanctions, which had stricken the Iraqi people so harshly. There was no reason to believe the Iraqi Government would not keep its promises. Were there a failure on its part to do so, the Security Council would not hesitate to take an immediate and appropriate response.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya), said concerns of his delegation, which included "the firmest possible endorsement of the achievements of the Secretary-General", had been reflected in the first operative paragraph of the text. Kenya's concern regarding paragraph 4 on the lifting of sanctions in accordance with resolution 687 (1991) had also been addressed by reflecting the paragraph in a more positive light, thus bringing it more into conformity with the Memorandum. Kenya was sensitive to the importance of that issue to the Iraqi people and believed it should be measured against the level of compliance by Iraq. Hopefully, UNSCOM would expedite and complete the final phase of its work to enable the Council to reach an early agreement on the lifting of sanctions.
He said Iraq was expected to fulfil its obligations under relevant resolutions and to cooperate fully with UNSCOM and the IAEA. After the signing of the Memorandum, hopefully there would also be a new understanding that would facilitate the smooth conclusion of outstanding issues. He wanted
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to place on record Kenya's conviction, based on assurances it had been given by sponsors, that the draft resolution contained nothing that would open the door to any eventuality for any kind of action without the clear authority of the Council. Hopefully, the dialogue and diplomatic means would lead to constructive cooperation between the United Nations and Iraq. On that basis Kenya would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said the international community had been engaged in intensive efforts to address the situation created by Iraq's non-compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Council. He welcomed the breakthrough agreement secured by the Secretary-General in Baghdad. Iraq had reconfirmed its acceptance of all relevant resolutions of the Council and agreed to accord to UNSCOM and IAEA inspection teams immediate and unconditional access to all inspection sites. It was hoped that the final procedures for inspection of the presidential sites would soon be worked out and reported to the Council.
The Council had an extremely important role to play in declaring its own position on the Memorandum of Understanding, he said. Council members were happy to make their position clear, by commending the Secretary-General's action, endorsing the Memorandum and looking forward to its full implementation. In endorsing the Secretary-General's effort with the Iraq authorities, the Council was giving its full support to his efforts. It was now important to see the agreement implemented.
Compliance by Iraq in providing unrestricted access to the inspection sites was essential to the implementation of resolution 687 (1991), he said. Violation of that obligation would have the severest consequences for Iraq. However, the draft resolution did not address the question of "automaticity". It was envisaged that the day would come, as soon as possible, when the sanctions against Iraq would be lifted, as a result of its full compliance with the Council's resolutions.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said the resolution was appropriate and reinforced the agreement reached in Baghdad. By commending the Secretary- General's initiative and by endorsing the Memorandum, the Council was doing its part in the efforts to secure compliance by Iraq with its obligations. Implementation of the Memorandum should begin without delay, and would be closely monitored by the Council. The message of today's resolution was clear: full compliance by Iraq with its obligations, reaffirmed in the Memorandum, was the way to implement resolution 687 (1991). On the other hand, violation of those obligations would have extremely negative consequences. It would destroy everything achieved through the Secretary- General's difficult mission. It would certainly prompt the Council to consider other effective measures to ensure compliance.
He said firmness and resolve to use means other than diplomacy was of critical importance for the Secretary-General's mission. Furthermore, the
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unity of the Council was and continued to be of paramount importance. Hopefully, Iraq would not forfeit the unique opportunity provided by the Memorandum. Efforts by Iraq to fully implement it were essential for UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors to finish their work. That would eventually enable the Council to consider the lifting of the prohibitions referred to in resolution 687 (1991).
The draft resolution reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, Kuwait and the neighbouring States. It was important to keep in mind the needs and the legitimate expectations of those States, particularly those of Kuwait, which suffered most seriously. Some issues concerning Kuwait had not yet been resolved, including those of missing persons and prisoners. The Council would have to address those issues on another occasion.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said the remarkable diplomatic achievement represented by the Memorandum of Understanding had averted war and enjoyed the unanimous support of Council members. It was now incumbent on the Council to do its part in endorsing that agreement, as in the current draft resolution. Portugal expected that the Memorandum would be implemented as soon as possible. All sites in Iraq were now accessible to United Nations inspection. There was a new opportunity now to see the fulfilment of all the relevant resolutions of the Council. The Council's unity in adopting the draft resolution would send a strong message to Iraq which, it was expected, would not fail to live up to its obligations.
The Special Commission and the IAEA had a task to fulfil, which should be done rapidly and efficiently, he said. Those tasks involved ensuring the inability of Iraq to use prohibited weapons of mass destruction. Achievement of those objectives would open the way to the lifting of the sanctions, which so dramatically affected the Iraqi people. It was hoped that with its message of unity, the Council would open a new era of cooperation between the Iraqi Government and the United Nations, so that Iraq might regain as soon as possible its full stature within the international community and the suffering of the Iraqi people might be ended.
QIN HUASUN (China) said that the Secretary-General, with the broad support of the international community, had completed a successful trip to Baghdad and had defused the crisis in Iraq. The Memorandum of Understanding had resolved the question of UNSCOM's access and, at the same time, taken into account Iraq's sovereignty and dignity. The agreement would help UNSCOM complete its work.
The situation in the Gulf region was complex and sensitive, he continued. It was in the interest of the international community and the people of the region to resolve the situation peacefully. International disputes should not be resolved by the threat or the use of force, which would
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only cause heavy civilian casualties and other consequences. Patient diplomacy was the only way to dispel tensions. Hopefully, the parties would refrain from any action which would worsen the situation.
The draft resolution endorsed the Memorandum and also made clear that the Council would lift the sanctions in accordance with resolution 687 (1991), he said. For that reason, China had joined in the consensus. It had been pointed out during consultations on the text, and China had demanded, that there would be no automatic endorsement of the use of force. China's misgivings concerning possible abuse of that element had not been removed. It wished, therefore, to stress that the resolution did not automatically authorize the use of force against Iraq. Whether Iraq violated the resolution or not, the Council should not predetermine the course of action and could only make its decisions at the appropriate time.
He said China believed Iraq must comprehensively implement Council resolutions, but it was a sovereign State and its legitimate security concerns must be considered. The Council must give timely consideration to the lifting of sanctions. Hopefully, UNSCOM, in keeping with the Memorandum, would implement the proposals made at its emergency meeting and complete its assessments of the disposal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction at the earliest date, with a view to the lifting of sanctions.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said that, legally and politically, the current draft resolution was not necessary to authorize the Memorandum, which had already enjoyed the Council's support. Nevertheless, the text validated the authority of the Memorandum, and was therefore welcome and useful. The Council would acknowledge the decision by Iraq to grant the Special Commission and the IAEA unconditional access to inspection sites, while recognizing respect for Iraq's sovereignty and dignity. The lack of reference to the principle of "automaticity" was of particular importance. It was up to the Council to evaluate the conduct of a country and to take the necessary decisions.
A period of grave crisis had been settled in a peaceful manner through the courageous action of the Secretary-General, he said. France had been pleased to lend him its support. However, the best tribute which could be paid to him would be to ensure strict respect for the Memorandum, with a view to bringing peace and stability back to the region. Nothing would be possible without the constant involvement of the Secretary-General in the Council's work and deliberations.
Action on Draft Resolution
The draft resolution before the Council was adopted unanimously as Council resolution 1154 (1998).
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Speaking after the action, BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said the international community was deeply grateful to the Secretary-General for his courageous and diligent efforts. His diplomacy, backed by America's willingness to use force, had achieved what could be, if implemented fully by Iraq, a breakthrough. The issue was not the so-called eight presidential sites. The principle was access. The Secretary-General's mission to Baghdad had secured commitments from Iraq, which on paper, promised UNSCOM full, immediate and unrestricted access to all sites. The Secretary-General's mission had secured an Iraqi commitment to adhere to the terms of all relevant Council resolutions, not just those on disarmament, but on the issue of prisoners of war and Kuwaiti property.
Hopefully, the Memorandum would mark an end to Iraq's policy of non- cooperation and confrontation and lead to its full compliance with all relevant Council resolutions, he continued. The United States had full faith in UNSCOM and its Executive Chairman and would be watching UNSCOM's inspections to be sure that Iraq provided it with full and unrestricted access. The resolution just adopted unanimously stated plainly and eloquently that Iraq must comply with its resolutions or face the consequences of its actions.
Any attempt by Iraq to provide less than immediate, unrestricted and unconditional access to any site would result in the severest consequences. The resolution provided a new beginning for Iraq to cooperate fully with UNSCOM and the IAEA. The Secretary-General's effort offered new hope. But only Iraq had the choice; only Iraq held the key -- its full and complete cooperation. Unless Iraq demonstrated that it was ready to rejoin the international community and abide by the rules of civilized behaviour, it could expect nothing but certain punishment and continued isolation.
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said his country had been consistently committed to implementation of the Council's resolutions to resolve the crisis in the Persian Gulf. It had striven to bring about Iraq's compliance with those resolutions, which was the only way the Council's sanctions could be lifted. The lifting of the oil embargo could follow the disarmament of Iraq, together with the implementation of long-term monitoring. Moscow commended the agreement between the Secretary-General and Iraq as a major diplomatic achievement. He paid tribute to the diplomatic skill, wisdom and courage of the Secretary-General in defending the principles of the Charter.
He said that the Russian Federation had done all it could to support the Secretary-General's mission, with the aim of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, allowing for continued monitoring and preventing a deterioration of the situation. The resolution just adopted also ensured respect for the sovereignty and dignity of Iraq. The Memorandum had full legal force and had already been approved by the Council on 24 February, when
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the Secretary-General reported to it on the results of his mission. The Council President made a statement on that matter the very same day.
The main goals of the resolution were to give official support to the Memorandum and urge its full implementation, he said. The resolution did not go beyond the terms of the Memorandum. It included a warning to Iraq, but did not address the question of automaticity. If further action was required, it would be considered and decided upon by the Council.
Current Council President MOMODOU LAMIN SEDAT JOBE, Foreign Minister of Gambia, speaking in his national capacity, said the situation in Iraq and its relationship with the United Nations had been a very disturbing one for a long time, and more particularly the past few weeks. Following the 1991 ceasefire agreement, Iraq had been in constant violation of its obligations. Notwithstanding those violations, the United Nations had been considerate enough to put in place the oil-for-food programme, which was recently generously increased under resolution 1153 (1998).
Reports reaching the Council however had revealed that Iraq had constantly obstructed UNSCOM in the performance of its duties and had denied it access to the eight presidential sites, he said. The reports revealed that Iraq was not just being obstructive, but also not transparent in its disclosures. Iraq must comply with its obligations or be made to comply. The Memorandum of Understanding offered a very welcome window of opportunity; it was a clear manifestation that preventive diplomacy was the best solution to threats to world peace. While calling on Iraq to comply with its obligations, the Council should be prepared to act in case Iraq should violate its obligations under the Memorandum or other relevant resolutions. He welcomed today's resolution, adding that it was not meant to address the question of automaticity.
MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) said his delegation was taking part in the Council's debate to demonstrate its unswerving commitment to the principles and purposes of the Charter. Mexico wished to pay tribute to those States and organizations that had worked towards achieving a peaceful solution to the crisis. It believed the peaceful settlement of disputes fostered understanding -- principles which were an indispensable basis of Mexico's own beliefs and policies.
The Secretary-General deserved sincere congratulations for his achievements, he continued. The Memorandum he had signed with Iraq contained all the elements needed to implement Council resolutions and avoid the use of force. Mexico was convinced that Iraq would show its good faith and comply with the Memorandum. The solution of the crisis was a new path for achieving international peace and security, the observance of international law and negotiated settlement. Recent events had shown that the international
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community could and should aspire to such goals. The United Nations was the appropriate forum in which such undertakings could occur.
AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) congratulated the Secretary-General for his sincere and sustained efforts in finding a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Gulf. Pakistan welcomed the Council's approval of the agreement which he had so painstakingly negotiated in Baghdad. "In the end, good sense and wisdom appear to have prevailed, and we can all rejoice", he said. As stated on 21 February by his Prime Minister, Pakistan supported the full implementation, in letter and spirit, of all United Nations resolutions without exception, whether they pertained to Iraq, Kashmir, Palestine or any other issue.
He said that Pakistan upheld the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and had constantly advised against the use of force. Military action against Iraq would only increase the hardships of the innocent Iraqi people, who had already suffered gravely over the past seven years owing to the sanctions and deprivations imposed on them. It was hoped that the approval of the Memorandum by the Council would pave the way for the full and scrupulous implementation of the relevant Council resolutions, as well as for the early lifting of sanctions against Iraq. Pakistan urged all parties to faithfully fulfil their respective obligations under the Memorandum so that day might dawn soon.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) congratulated the Secretary-General for undertaking his bold initiative, which had profound implications on international peace and security. Malaysia warmly welcomed the agreement, which had averted what would have been an unnecessary and senseless military attack on Iraq, resulting, inevitably, in the tragic loss of innocent lives and the destruction of properties. The Secretary-General had reaffirmed the authority of his office and restored, at a very critical time, mutual trust and understanding between and among Member States, as well as respect for international law and the dignity of sovereignty of member countries. Malaysia was relieved and gratified that, in the end, wisdom, common sense and diplomacy had prevailed over the temptation for the use of force.
Malaysia joined the rest of the international community in calling on Iraq to honour all the relevant Council resolutions unequivocally and without reservations, while calling on the Council to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, he said. It was fervently hoped that the Memorandum would be upheld by all the parties concerned, thereby resolving, once and for all, the dispute between Iraq and the Security Council over the issue of UNSCOM's access to inspection sites in Iraq. Malaysia further hoped that there would no longer be any necessity or excuse for military action against Iraq and that there would be no further misunderstanding on that issue.
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He said that Malaysia continued to be profoundly concerned with the desperate plight of the long-suffering people of Iraq, many of whom were experiencing the debilitating effects of seven years of sanctions. His country implored members of the Council, in the name of humanity, not to mete out further punishments on the hapless Iraqi people. It was hoped that with the full implementation of the current agreement, Iraq would be able to see the longed-for light at the end of the tunnel. Malaysia strongly supported the recent decision of the Council to double the oil-for-food programme as a practical arrangement to avoid further deterioration of the current humanitarian situation in Iraq. It remained its hope and prayer that, with the resolution of the current differences between the Council and Iraq, the sanctions on Iraq could be lifted in the near future.
FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) welcomed the determination, calm and diplomatic skill shown by the Secretary-General, which had enhanced the indispensable role of the United Nations and the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security. The members of the Council addressed the question of compliance with the relevant Council resolutions; it should be complied with strictly. Citing the humanitarian situation in Iraq, he expressed appreciation to all members of the Council for its adoption of resolution 1153 (1998).
NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said the Secretary-General's diplomatic efforts in resolving the crisis had saved the world from the devastating effects of the use of force, which could have spilled over into the region and beyond. The success of the Secretary-General's mission was telling evidence of the need to depend more on him in future delicate diplomatic missions. The use of force was regulated by international law under the Charter, which also contained controls on the legitimate use of force for self-defence.
He said the President of Egypt had taken part in the diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis with leaders of the region. The President had exerted his influence to achieve a peaceful solution and prepared the way for the Secretary-General's successful mission to Baghdad. The UNSCOM had made considerable progress in disposing of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which should lead to efforts to lift the sanctions. Egypt would also like to see a similar progress in the solution of problems related to missing persons and Kuwaiti property.
FERNANDO GUILLEN (Peru) welcomed the fact that the Council had endorsed the Secretary-General's mission and the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week. That agreement highlighted both the skills of the Secretary- General and the importance of his functions. It was hoped that compliance by Iraq with the Council's resolutions, combined with great humanitarian awareness, would help put an end to the suffering of the Iraqi people. The current agreement also highlighted the importance of the role of the United Nations.
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MOHAMMAD ABULHASSAN (Kuwait) said the Secretary-General's achievement had solved a crisis which could have threatened peace and security in the region. Kuwait had always been keen to spare the world of the effect of the implementation of Council resolutions. It wished that Iraq, now that it had tested the will of the international community and the honesty of the Secretary-General, would implement the Memorandum and relevant Council resolutions. Kuwait believed that there was an organic connection between the work of UNSCOM and the peaceful settlement of the Iraqi situation. Therefore, the Gulf States called on Iraq to comply with the mandate of the Special Commission.
He said Kuwait understood the Security Council's efforts to spare the Iraqi people from the effects of weapons of mass destruction. However, there were other issues, including those of the prisoners of war, Kuwaiti detainees and third country citizens. Iraq must fulfil basic commitments on those issues before the sanctions against it were lifted. International law and the Charter did not distinguish between individuals. Therefore, as an individual, he was appealing to the Council on the matter of the detainees who represented 1 per cent of Kuwait's population. Kuwaitis suffered exactly the same as the Iraqi people and that was why when any measures were taken to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, the situation of the Kuwaiti people must also be taken into account.
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