SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS IRAQ'S DECISION TO CEASE COOPERATION WITH UNSCOM

5 November 1998
SC/6591

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS IRAQ'S DECISION TO CEASE COOPERATION WITH UNSCOM

5 November 1998

Press ReleaseSC/6591

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS IRAQ'S DECISION TO CEASE COOPERATION WITH UNSCOM

19981105

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council this afternoon condemned Iraq's decision of 31 October to cease cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) as a flagrant violation of Council resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1205 (1998), the Council also demanded that Iraq rescind immediately and unconditionally that decision as well as its decision of 5 August to suspend cooperation with the Special Commission and restrict the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Council demanded further that Iraq provide immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation with those two bodies.

The Council reaffirmed its intention to act in accordance with resolution 687 (1991) regarding the duration of sanctions against Iraq. The Council noted that Iraq's failure to comply with its obligations had delayed the moment when sanctions could be lifted.

In accordance with its primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council decided to remain actively seized of the matter.

Under resolution 687 (1991), a 34-operative paragraph text, the Council decided that Iraq should unconditionally accept the destruction of its weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles that could deliver such weapons. It also provided for the establishment of the Special Commission to monitor the destruction of those items and asked the IAEA to monitor and verify the destruction of Iraq's nuclear capabilities.

Under other terms of resolution 687 (1991), the Council decided to regularly review the sanctions in light of Iraq's policies and practices and its implementation of relevant Council resolutions.

Security Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation between Iraq and Kuwait. It had before it letters to the President of the Council from the Deputy Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a letter dated 31 October (document S/1998/1023), the Deputy Executive Chairman of UNSCOM informs the President that the Iraqi Government has decided:

-- to suspend, stop or cease all activities of the Special Commission, including monitoring;

-- the monitoring teams will not be allowed to conduct any activities;

-- members of the Commission's monitoring teams are not requested to depart from Iraq;

-- UNSCOM monitoring cameras and other equipment will remain in place and working, but visiting of those cameras will not be allowed;

-- the IAEA will be allowed to continue its monitoring activities, provided that they are independent from the Commission.

In his letter, dated 2 November (document S/1998/1032), the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM states that Iraq's decision, when combined with the decision it took on 5 August to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, brings to a complete halt all inspection activities of the Commission, either for disarmament or monitoring purposes. Several visiting inspection teams, scheduled for the coming weeks in support of monitoring activities, have been cancelled.

Routine logistic and maintenance work has not been prohibited by Iraq, he says. Thus, such activities as the L-100 transport flights and maintenance of the camera systems continue. The IAEA is continuing its monitoring operations within the limitations imposed by Iraq's decisions. The Commission will continue to provide the Agency teams with logistical support when requested.

The Executive Chairman draws attention to the fact that a clear distinction between the IAEA and the Commission's monitoring activities, which Iraq sought to draw, will be difficult to establish, considering the inherent links between the mandates of the IAEA and the Commission.

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He goes on to say that, for the moment, he has decided to maintain the full scope of the Commission's personnel and capabilities in Iraq so that they can resume full activities without delay, should the situation change in the next days. This decision needs to be reassessed in case Iraq does not rescind its decisions in the near future.

He concludes by saying that Iraq's decision makes it impossible for the Commission to implement its disarmament and monitoring rights and responsibilities. The Commission is not in a position to provide the Council with any level of assurance regarding Iraq's compliance with its obligations not to retain and not to re-establish proscribed activities.

In his letter to the President of the Council (document S/1998/1033), the Director-General of the IAEA states that so far, the IAEA has been able to continue its schedule of monitoring inspections. It performs the technical aspects of the inspections independently but, in the context of the "assistance and cooperation" called for by the Council, the IAEA relies upon the Special Commission for logistical services and facilities such as: air transport between Bahrain and Baghdad and within Iraq; office and laboratory facilities, including secure areas; communications, including audio/video network; road vehicles and maintenance services; maintenance of joint-use video surveillance systems; and installations of in-field environmental monitoring equipment.

He says that IAEA activities continue to be limited by Iraq's 5 August decision. The IAEA's inability to exercise its right to full and free access under its ongoing monitoring and verification plan has resulted in a significant reduction in the level of assurance that can be provided by that plan. The IAEA is continuing with limited implementation of its plan.

Draft Resolution

Also before the Council was the following draft resolution, sponsored by Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Portugal, Brazil and France:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions on the situation in Iraq, in particular its resolution 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998 and 1194 (1998) of 9 September 1998,

"Noting with alarm the decision of Iraq on 31 October 1998 to cease cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission, and its continued restrictions on the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),

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"Noting the letters from the Deputy Executive Chairman of the Special Commission of 31 October 1998 (S/1998/1023) and from the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission of 2 November 1998 (S/1998/1032) to the President of the Security Council, which reported to the Council the decision by Iraq and described the implications of that decision for the work of the Special Commission, and noting also the letter from the Director-General of the IAEA of 3 November 1998 (S/1998/1033) which described the implications of the decision for the work of the IAEA,

"Determined to ensure immediate and full compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991 and the other relevant resolutions,

"Recalling that the effective operation of the Special Commission and the IAEA is essential for the implementation of resolution 687 (1991),

"Reaffirming its readiness to consider, in a comprehensive review, Iraq's compliance with its obligations under all relevant resolutions once Iraq has rescinded its above-mentioned decision and its decision of 5 August 1998 and demonstrated that it is prepared to fulfil all its obligations, including in particular on disarmament issues, by resuming full cooperation with the Special Commission and the IAEA consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Secretary- General on 23 February 1998 (S/1998/166), endorsed by the Council in resolution 1154 (1998),

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

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

"1. Condemns the decision by Iraq of 31 October 1998 to cease cooperation with the Special Commission as a flagrant violation of resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions;

"2. Demands that Iraq rescind immediately and unconditionally the decision of 31 October 1998, as well as the decision of 5 August 1998, to suspend cooperation with the Special Commission and to maintain restrictions on the work of the IAEA, and that Iraq provide immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation with the Special Commission and the IAEA:

"3. Reaffirms its full support for the Special Commission and the IAEA in their efforts to ensure the implementation of their mandates under the relevant resolutions of the Council;

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"4. Expresses its full support for the Secretary-General in his efforts to seek full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding of 23 February 1998;

"5. 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;

"6. Decides, in accordance with its primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, to remain actively seized of the matter."

Statements

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said his Government strongly regretted Iraq's decision on 31 October to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and to maintain restrictions on the work of the IAEA. It was surprised that the decision had come the day after the Security Council had completed its work on the presidential letter to the Secretary-General describing its views on a comprehensive review of Iraq's compliance with relevant Council resolutions.

That decision, together with Iraq's decision of 5 August, had in effect rendered impossible the implementation of relevant resolutions, including the provisions of resolution 687 (1991), stipulating the conditions that must be met for the sanctions to be lifted. It was a regrettable decision for both Iraq and the international community. Deeply concerned with Iraq's decision, Japan had made a démarche to the Embassy of Iraq in Tokyo, on 2 November, urging it to immediately resume full and unconditional cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA. The draft resolution was the Council's formal response to Iraq's decision of 31 October. The message was clear: sanctions could be lifted only when Iraq complied with the relevant Council resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Secretary-General; that could be achieved only with full cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA.

ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said the recent Iraqi decision had been irrational, unacceptable and a serious violation of its obligations. Iraq was turning its back on the Council, which had been proceeding towards a comprehensive review of the sanctions.

He said the draft resolution before the Council restated the Council's intention to carry out such a review and to abide by the pertinent provisions of resolution 687 (1991), as embodied in its paragraphs 21 and 22. The draft reaffirmed the responsibilities and prerogatives the Council bore in the areas of international peace and security.

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He appealed to Iraq to accept the opportunity the Council was offering. The only way forward was for Iraq to rescind without delay its decisions of 31 October and 5 August.

DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said that while the Council had been patiently moving towards meeting Iraqi concerns and reaching a consensus on the outline of a comprehensive review, Iraq had chosen to move in the opposite direction. It was difficult to understand the motives of Iraq's reaction.

It was also difficult to see how that grave challenge to the Council's authority could result in anything other than a serious escalation that would not serve any of Iraq's interests, he said. The only way for Iraq to have the sanctions lifted was the fulfilment of its obligations under all relevant resolutions. The draft before the Council was timely and necessary, and he would vote in favour.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that his delegation was deeply concerned by Iraq's decision to halt cooperation with the Special Commission and to maintain restrictions on the work of the IAEA. Iraq's decision of 31 October was unacceptable and could jeopardize a solution to the Iraqi problem. It also ran counter to efforts by the Security Council to review the sanctions and to open the way to the lifting of the sanctions. Immediately after the 31 October decision, the Russian Federation had informed Iraq of its view.

Resumption of constructive negotiations alone would lead to a comprehensive review and to the eventual lifting of the sanctions, he said. Any attempt to use force would be highly unpredictable for the United Nations ability to monitor the situation and for the maintenance of peace and stability in the region. The draft resolution sought a political solution and did not imply the use of force.

Without justifying in any way Iraq's actions, he said, his delegation stressed the need for total clarity in Council decisions to carry out its own resolutions. He hoped that Iraq would rescind its decision of 31 October. The Russian Federation would support the resolution.

ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said the draft resolution contained the message the Council must now convey to Iraq. It expressed a firm condemnation of the Iraqi decision of 31 October, renewed the Council's support for the Special Commission and for the IAEA and demanded that Iraq immediately rescind that decision and the one of 5 August. The primary responsibility for the matter rested with the Council, as reaffirmed in the draft resolution. But the Council sought to engage all means to bring about a diplomatic solution. In that light, the Council fully supported the Secretary-General's efforts to seek implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, which Iraq's decisions clearly violated.

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Iraq must understand that it could not continue to miss the opportunities offered, he said. Iraq could not continue to delay fulfilling the conditions that would enable the Council to act in accordance with paragraphs 21 and 22 of resolution 687 (1991). Iraq could not continue to delay the moment when the Council would be in a position to act on the duration of the prohibitions referred to in that resolution. The draft represented a firm, unambiguous and determined reaction by the Council. It also expressed, in no uncertain terms, the Council's united response to the Iraqi stand.

HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said steps like those now being taken by Iraq would not get it any closer to the lifting of sanctions. The Council was always ready to listen to the views of the Iraqi Government, but attempts to bargain with the Council over its resolutions could not be accepted. There was no room for compromise on fundamental principles.

He hoped that the message embedded in the draft resolution would not be missed by Baghdad. An important principle was embedded in the last paragraph of the resolution. The Council's responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security must not be circumvented.

CELSO LUIZ NUNES AMORIM (Brazil) said an indispensable condition for moving towards a comprehensive review of sanctions was for Iraq to rescind its recent decisions. Complete cooperation was the only way to reach the moment when the disarmament phase would be concluded. The members of the Council had agreed on a letter to the Secretary-General in which it had offered its initial views on how to hold a comprehensive review. He had been dismayed to hear about Iraq's decision of 31 October.

He urged Iraq to rescind both of its decisions and to resume full cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA. He stressed the importance of the Council decision, in accordance with its primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, to remain actively seized of the matter.

NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said the situation in Iraq would see a notable improvement with the commencement of the comprehensive review. His Government was therefore disappointed with the latest turn of events. He expected Iraq to fulfil its obligations under Council resolutions and to cooperate fully with UNSCOM and the IAEA on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding of 23 February. A way forward must be forged to facilitate the conclusion of the outstanding issues and de-escalate the tension caused by recent developments.

He said Kenya was grateful that its concerns regarding the contents of the draft resolution, including: the demand that Iraq rescind its decisions of 31 October and 5 August; the reaffirmation of the Council's readiness to take up the comprehensive review; its intention to act in accordance with

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relevant provisions of resolution 687 (1991) on the duration of the prohibitions; and full support for the efforts of the Secretary-General, and confidence in his ability to carry his process forward on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding. The present draft contained nothing that could open the door to any kind of action without the Council's clear and precise authority. Kenya would like to see a resumption of full cooperation between Iraq and the United Nations. He urged Iraq to act quickly and decisively in addressing the current situation.

JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLY (Bahrain) said Iraq's decisions were unfortunate and had come about when the Council had been getting ready to undertake a comprehensive review. It was in Iraq's interest to rescind its decisions as soon as possible. There was still a chance and Iraq should seize it.

If Iraq rescinded the two decisions, he said, it would pave the way for the comprehensive review prepared by the Council and lead to lifting the embargo that had caused so much damage to the Iraqi people. He hoped consultations and dialogue would continue.

BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said full implementation of Council resolutions was imperative. Whenever Iraq had pushed the relationship with the Council, his delegation had stressed the importance of compliance as a prerequisite for the lifting of the sanctions. He had repeatedly noticed Iraq's tendency to shirk its obligations by offering new rules of the game. The 31 October decision to cease cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA were further examples of its challenge to the Council's authority and raised the question of its resolve and readiness in signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretary-General. Iraq's actions appeared to be for the sole purpose of securing further concessions in the process of implementing Council resolutions. Costa Rica could not accept Iraq's claim of a lack of clarity, as expressed in the letter sent to the Secretary-General.

He called on Iraq to resume cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA. Hopefully, Iraq would demonstrate its resolve to comply, and thus allow the Council to carry out a review of the sanctions. He urged the Secretary- General to continue with his efforts in the hope that dialogue and negotiations would resolve the problem.

BABOUCARR-BLAISE ISMAILA JAGNE (Gambia) said his Government was flabbergasted by Iraq's decision on 31 October to cease cooperation with UNSCOM and to continue to impose restrictions on the work of the IAEA. It was another slap in the face, especially at a time when the Council was in the process of fine-tuning a possible concept for a comprehensive review of the sanctions against Iraq. The Council had been working painstakingly towards that direction when what had been conveniently described as a hiccup had suddenly assumed another dimension with the 31 October decision, and now looked like a stranglehold. The draft resolution attempted to free the

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international community from that deadly grip, and, hopefully, break the vicious cycle of mini-crisis after mini-crisis.

It was in that spirit that resolution 1194 (1998) had been adopted in order to set the process in motion culminating in a comprehensive review, provided of course, that the logical sequence had been adhered to. The first step was for Iraq to rescind its decision of 5 August. Failing to comply thus far with its obligations, Iraq was unnecessarily postponing the proposed comprehensive review, and, by extension, prolonging the unwarranted suffering of the people of Iraq.

DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said that contrary to every expectation, Iraq had decided to suspend and halt its cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, thus running the risk of postponing the review of sanctions. Its attitude could only heighten suspicions regarding Iraq's intention to implement its obligations under Council resolutions.

He said Iraqi action had prolonged the suffering of the Iraqi people and encouraged Iraq to resume cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA. The technical dialogue would help to provide answers to Iraqi questions regarding the lifting of sanctions. The Council's support for the efforts of the Secretary- General and the reaffirmation of its intention to comply with resolution 687 (1991) should inspire Iraq's confidence in the Council.

QIN HUASUN (China) said his delegation was deeply disturbed at the present development in Iraq, which should implement Council resolutions in full and cooperate with UNSCOM and the IAEA. At the same time, the Council should make a timely and objective assessment of Iraq's implementation. He hoped that questions left over from the Persian Gulf war would be resolved as soon as possible.

He said the Council should seriously reflect on the root causes of the current situation. Iraq had to rescind its decisions, but the Council also had a responsibility to make a fair assessment of Iraq's compliance. The time was right to move to the next stage of the ongoing monitoring and verification. The fact that the Council had not been able to make a decision in that regard was regrettable. The Council should conduct a comprehensive review of compliance and put forward some concrete suggestions. China appreciated the efforts of the Secretary-General and supported his active role. Only through dialogue, consultations and confidence-building could the present problem be resolved.

He appealed to all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from any actions that could exacerbate the situation. Although there were still elements in the draft that were not entirely to China's liking, it contained parts put forward by China and was a balanced text. Hopefully, it would

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facilitate Iraq's cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA and lead to an early comprehensive review to free the Iraqi people of sanctions.

The Council then unanimously adopted the draft as resolution 1205 (1998).

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said the resolution reiterated the Council's full support for UNSCOM and the IAEA whose work was vital. Cooperation, not confrontation, was the only way out of sanctions for Iraq.

He said the authorization to use force as approved by previous Council resolutions might be revived if there was a serious breach of the conditions set down in resolution 687 (1991). The current resolution sent a clear message to Iraq: "resume cooperation now". He hoped Iraq would respond positively and resume full cooperation soon.

PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said that in adopting the resolution, the Council was sending a clear and unmistakable message to Iraq: non-compliance would not be rewarded or tolerated. Iraqi efforts to defy Council resolutions and obtain a lifting of the sanctions had failed, and would fail. Iraq's restrictions on UNSCOM and the IAEA since 5 August were intolerable. The key provisions of resolution 687 (1991) could not be implemented unless UNSCOM and the IAEA had Iraqi cooperation and full, immediate and unimpeded access.

He said it was significant that the resolution cited the Iraqi decision as a "flagrant violation of resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions". Also, both United States President William Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had emphasized that all options were on the table, and that the United States had the authority to act. Iraq should recognize the gravity of the situation it had created and turn back from the dangerous and self-defeating course it had chosen. The United States sincerely hoped that Iraq would heed the clear message of the resolution and take the necessary steps without delay.

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For information media. Not an official record.