SECURITY COUNCIL TERMINATES WEAPONS INSPECTORS’ MANDATE IN IRAQ BY VOTE OF 14-0-1; REMAINING FUNDS DIVERTED FOR DEVELOPMENT; STRICT CONTROL OF ARCHIVES SOUGHT
SECURITY COUNCIL TERMINATES WEAPONS INSPECTORS’ MANDATE IN IRAQ BY VOTE OF 14-0-1; REMAINING FUNDS DIVERTED FOR DEVELOPMENT; STRICT CONTROL OF ARCHIVES SOUGHT
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5710th Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL TERMINATES WEAPONS INSPECTORS’ MANDATE IN IRAQ BY VOTE OF 14-0-1;
REMAINING FUNDS DIVERTED FOR DEVELOPMENT; STRICT CONTROL OF ARCHIVES SOUGHT
Nuclear Verification Office of Atomic Energy Agency in Iraq Also Closed;
Government to Report Within One Year on Progress Made Towards Non-Proliferation
The Security Council, noting testimonials that all of Iraq’s known weapons of mass destruction had been rendered harmless and that the Government of Iraq had declared its support for international non-proliferation regimes, this morning decided to immediately terminate the mandate of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC).
Resolution 1762 (2007), submitted by the United Kingdom and the United States, was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with the Russian Federation abstaining. By the text, the 15-member body also decided to terminate the related Nuclear Verification Office of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Iraq.
Additionally, the Council requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to transfer all remaining unencumbered funds in the UNMOVIC escrow account to the Government of Iraq, through the Development Fund for Iraq within the next three months, and to take measures to ensure that sensitive information related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, from UNMOVIC’s archives, be kept under strict control.
A further term of the text invited the Iraqi Government to report to the Council within one year on progress made in adhering to all applicable disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and related international agreements, notably the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons (Chemical Weapons Convention) and the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement.
Annexed to the resolution is a letter from the Secretaries of State of the United States and the United Kingdom, informing the Council that all appropriate steps had been taken to “secure, remove, disable, render harmless, eliminate or destroy” Iraq’s known weapons of mass destruction, and all known elements of its programmes to develop such weapons. A letter from the Foreign Minister of Iraq, also annexed to the resolution, requested the termination of the UNMOVIC and IAEA team mandates.
Prior to the adoption of the resolution, the Council heard briefings from officials of the two agencies. Demitrius Perricos, Acting Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, said it was up to the Council to exercise its judgment in accepting what he called a “residue of uncertainty” in closing the file on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. After extensive inspections in early 2003, the Agency had reported that it did not find evidence of the resumption of such weapons programmes in Iraq, though many disarmament issues remained unresolved.
However, he said, in the present security environment in Iraq, the possibility should not be discounted that non-State actors might seek to acquire toxic agents or their chemical precursors. The chemical weapons site at Muthanna had been breached and there were many other uncertainties concerning chemical weapons. That uncertainty would be reduced if Iraq had already acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Gustavo Zlauvinen, speaking on behalf of the Director General of the IAEA, recalled his 7 March 2003 report, in which he had informed the Council that the Agency had found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq. Since 17 March 2003, however, the Agency had not been able to carry out most of its activities in the country.
He hoped that, in the near future, once the security situation permitted, the Agency would be able to provide assurances of the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country.
Following those briefings, several Council members expressed their appreciation to UNMOVIC and the IAEA Office for their work, but agreed that it was time to end their mandates.
The United States representative said that, since 2003, the Iraq Survey Group associated with the Multinational Force had demonstrated that no significant stockpile of weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq. The Multinational Force, however, continued to find residual materials, which it disposed of in cooperation with the Government. It had also found evidence of Saddam Hussein regime’s capabilities to produce long-range missiles and biological weapons.
France’s representative said that, while not all issues had been resolved, there was only a low level of uncertainty. There was a need to ensure that the Government of Iraq was prepared to take over the relevant mandate of the United Nations inspections and monitoring bodies to ensure that non-proliferation efforts moved forward. France was prepared to support the text and would call on the Government of Iraq to report to the Council in one year on those concerns.
Iraq’s representative said the Council’s termination of the mandates marked the turning of an “appalling chapter” in Iraq’s modern day history. The Iraqi people had paid a very heavy price because the former regime had refused to cooperate with the international bodies responsible for eliminating weapons of mass destruction.
He reiterated Iraq’s commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as already stated in the Iraqi Foreign Minister’s April letter to the Security Council, as well as to other weapons treaties. The Iraqi technical authorities had also drafted a law on Iraq’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that he had abstained from the vote because there had been no official certification by UNMOVIC that the Iraq file should be closed. In addition, it was important to clarify such issues as export controls and the supplies and non-destruction of certain weapons. Some of his concerns had indeed been addressed during consultations, but the full range had not been reflected in the resolution.
Other speakers were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Qatar, South Africa, Indonesia and China.
The meeting, which opened at 10:23 a.m., closed at 11:45 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1762 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 699 (1991) of 17 June 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 1051 (1996) of 27 March 1996, 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, 1441 (2002) of 8 November 2002, 1483 (2003) of 22 May 2003, 1540 (2004) of 28 April 2004 and 1546 (2004) of 8 June 2004,
“Expressing gratitude to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for their important and comprehensive contributions under the relevant resolutions, noting the accumulation of expertise, experience and maintenance of a roster of experts during UNMOVIC’s mandate, and encouraging Member States to maintain similar expertise for the future,
“Acknowledging that a democratically elected and constitutionally based Government of Iraq is now in place, noting the Government of Iraq’s declaration of support for the international non-proliferation regime, and welcoming the concrete steps taken in this regard, including the commitment enshrined in the Permanent Constitution and the establishment of the National Monitoring Directorate with responsibility for import/export control,
“Recalling Iraq’s disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions, its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, its IAEA Safeguards Agreement, The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction and the Geneva Protocol, noting Iraq’s commitment to detect, deter, prevent and combat, including through international cooperation when necessary, the illicit trafficking and brokering in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery and related materials, in accordance with its legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, and urging its adherence to all applicable disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, notably the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, and an Additional Protocol to the IAEA Safeguards Agreement,
“Noting disarmament efforts regarding Iraq since 1991, and further noting the joint US-UK letter dated 28 June 2007 and the Government of Iraq letter to the Security Council dated 8 April 2007 annexed to this resolution,
“Recognizing that the continued operations of UNMOVIC and the IAEA’s Iraq Nuclear Verification Office (INVO) are no longer necessary to verify Iraqi compliance with its obligations under the relevant resolutions,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to terminate immediately the mandates of UNMOVIC and the IAEA under the relevant resolutions;
“2. Reaffirms Iraq’s disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions, acknowledges Iraq’s constitutional commitment to the non-proliferation, non-development, non-production and non-use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and associated equipment, material, and technologies for use in the development, manufacture, production and use of such weapons, as well as delivery systems, and urges Iraq to continue to implement this commitment and to adhere to all applicable disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and related international agreements;
“3. Invites the Government of Iraq to report to the Security Council within one year on progress made in adhering to all applicable disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and related international agreements, notably the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, and on progress made by the National Monitoring Directorate and the Government of Iraq with regard to dual-use controls and harmonizing Iraqi export legislation with international standards;
“4. Takes note of the summary briefings provided by UNMOVIC/UNSCOM and IAEA on their respective activities in Iraq since 1991, and expresses appreciation for their dedicated work;
“5. Requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary measures to provide for the appropriate disposition of UNMOVIC’s archives and other property under arrangements ensuring, in particular, that sensitive proliferation information or information provided in confidence by member states is kept under strict control, and further requests that the Secretary-General inform the Security Council within three months on steps taken in this regard;
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to transfer to the Government of Iraq through the Development Fund for Iraq not later than three months from the date of this resolution, all remaining unencumbered funds in the account established pursuant to paragraph 8 (e) of resolution 986 (1995), after returning to Member States at their request contributions made by them pursuant to paragraph 4 of resolution 699 (1991);
“7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
Resolution Annex I
Letter from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Secretary of State of the United States of America United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
The United States and United Kingdom wish to inform the Security Council of the steps that have been taken with regard to ensuring Iraqi compliance with its disarmament obligations, as called for in UNSCR 1483.
Together with the Government of Iraq and other States, the United States and United Kingdom, pursuant to their letter dated 8 May 2003, have been working since March 2003 with the objective of locating and securing, removing, disabling, rendering harmless, eliminating, or destroying weapons of mass destruction (WMD), ballistic missiles, and related delivery systems and programs in Iraq developed under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
We wish to inform the Council that all appropriate steps have been taken to secure, remove, disable, render harmless, eliminate, or destroy (i) all of Iraq’s known weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range of greater than 150 kilometres, and (ii) all known elements of Iraq’s programs to research, develop, design, manufacture, produce, support, assemble, and employ such weapons and delivery systems, subsystems, and components thereof.
Furthermore, we wish to draw attention of the Council to the conclusions of the report issued by the Special Advisor to the United States Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq’s WMD (“the Duelfer Report”) following a review of Iraq’s WMD programs, by drawing upon information received from former Iraqi officials, other Iraqi citizens, suspected weapon sites and both technical and procurement-related documents. In the course of their investigation, Iraq Survey Group analysts visited suspected weapons-related sites and searched through documents. The report and its addenda are available at the following website: https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/index.html.
The April 24, 2007 letter from the Government of Iraq to the Security Council outlines additional actions that it has taken and other actions that it intends to take in the near future to demonstrate and affirm to the international community its belief that it is now in full compliance with its disarmament obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
(Signed) Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State
United States of America
Signed: June 27, 2007
(Signed) Margaret Beckett
Secretary of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Signed: June 22, 2007
Resolution Annex II
Letter dated 8 April 2007 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq addressed to the President of the Security Council
I have the honour to address the present letter to you, and through you to the other members of the Security Council, requesting, on behalf of the Government of Iraq, that the Council consider terminating the mandates of the United Nations
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the Iraq Action Team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established by the Security Council resolutions on the elimination and removal of former Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, as there are no longer any legal or technical grounds for continuing their mandate and we are certain that Iraq currently has none of the programmes or weapons in question. In this connection, please note the following:
1. Today Iraq has a democratically elected Government and a new Parliament in addition to a Constitution that has been approved by the Iraqis. Today it declares that it is joining the global democratic community in its support for the international non-proliferation regime.
2. Article 9 (e) of the Permanent Constitution of the Government of Iraq states that: “The Iraqi Government shall respect and implement Iraq’s international obligations regarding the non-proliferation, non-development, non-production and non-utilization of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and shall prohibit associated equipment, materiel, technologies and communication systems for use in the development, manufacture, production and utilization of such weapons”. This Constitution was approved by the Iraqi people in the national referendum held in 2005.
3. As Security Council members know, the Iraqi Government has cooperated fully with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) in respect of the former regime’s weapons programme.
4. Today the Iraqi Government affirms its full commitment to the relevant Security Council resolutions and, in that connection, reiterates the request that it made to the President of the Council in March 2005, as well as the letter from the Iraqi Prime Minister of 11 November 2006 calling for the termination of the mandates of UNMOVIC and the IAEA Iraq Action Team.
5. The Iraqi Government reiterates its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the safeguards agreement of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Biological Weapons Convention and the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. The provisional Iraqi Government announced previously in July 2004 its commitment to all the agreements and conventions on the prevention of proliferation. The Iraqi technical authorities have elaborated a draft law on Iraq’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is currently before the Parliament — the country’s legislative branch — with a view to its adoption and preparations are under way for accession to the Model Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards regime.
6. With regard to coordination with IAEA on a code of conduct on the safety and security of radioactive sources in Iraq, Iraq has set up an agency responsible for identifying radioactive sources in Iraq and guaranteeing their security, namely, the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority. Since the fall of the previous regime, IAEA has made four successful verification visits to the Tuwaitha site — in June 2003, August 2004, September 2005 and, most recently, in November 2006.
7. The Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate is overseeing the transfer of dual-use substances and is now making every effort to harmonize Iraqi export legislation with international standards. Iraq has submitted its national report in accordance with its obligations under Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).
8. The Iraqi Government has undertaken to guarantee the security of its borders by strengthening controls in cooperation with the multinational force.
The Government and people of my country hope that the Security Council will make a serious and objective assessment of the situation in Iraq — namely, the absence of weapons of mass destruction and related programmes — and take the appropriate decision to terminate the mandate of UNMOVIC and the IAEA Iraq Action Team and transfer the balance in the Iraq account opened by the United Nations to the Development Fund for Iraq, for the purposes of investment.
I should be grateful if you would have the text of the present letter circulated to the members of the Security Council as a document of the Security Council.
(Signed) Hoshyar Zebari
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq
8 April 2007
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation concerning Iraq and to hear briefings by officials from the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
DEMETRIUS PERRICOS, Acting Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), said that this was the Commission’s last quarterly briefing, in view of the Council’s imminent decision to terminate the body’s mandate. In Iraq’s present security environment, the possibility should not be discounted that non-State actors might seek to acquire toxic agents or their chemical precursors in small quantities. One recent example was the reported use by insurgents in Iraq of toxic industrial chemicals, previously under United Nations monitoring, such as chlorine, combined with explosives for dispersal. “The possibility of non-State actors getting their hands on other, more toxic, agents is real,” he said, adding that UNMOVIC had annexed to its latest report details further elaborating its study on the issue of small quantities in both the chemical and biological areas.
He said UNMOVIC’s activities over the years had been detailed in its quarterly reports to the Council and the various technical annexes thereto. The Council had already been provided with a summary of UNMOVIC’s compendium on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programmes, which had been issued as a document last year and posted on the Commission’s website two days ago after sensitive information had been removed. Along with providing a detailed and comprehensive account of the former Iraqi regime’s extensive weapons of mass destruction programmes, it also, for the first time, provided lessons learned over the many years of United Nations inspections and monitoring, which could be useful in any future multilateral verification undertaking.
He had recalled that he had previously asked the Council to find the opportunity to revisit UNMOVIC’s mandate, including the activities and process that could eventually lead to the closing of the disarmament file and of any follow-up actions required. The Commission, including between 27 November 2002 and 17 March 2003 -– when United Nations inspectors had been withdrawn –- had conducted 731 inspections, covering 411 sites, 88 of which had not previously been inspected. The Commission had noted in its thirteenth quarterly report that, during the period it had performed inspections in Iraq, “it did not find evidence of the continuation or resumption of programmes of weapons of mass destruction or significant quantities of proscribed items from before the adoption of resolution 687 (1991)”. It had also noted that the inspections had uncovered a small number of undeclared empty chemical warheads, which appeared to have been produced prior to 1990. Those and a few other proscribed items had subsequently been destroyed.
At the same time, that report noted that a thorough assessment had been made of both dual-use capabilities and the amount of time that would be needed to reconfigure specific installations to perform proscribed activities, he continued. But neither the inspections nor the declarations and documents submitted by Iraq to UNMOVIC had resulted in eliminating the existing unresolved disarmament issues. A list of key remaining disarmament tasks selected from unresolved disarmament issues had been presented to the Council on 19 March 2003. Some of those issues had been revisited, in light of the changes in Iraq in the aftermath of the war.
He recalled that, in the mid-1990s, the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and its inspectors had uncovered key elements of the proscribed programmes, including that of undeclared biological warfare agents production and weaponization, which had been concealed by Iraq until 1995. Those inspectors had also uncovered advanced capabilities in chemical weapons development, including the nerve agent VX, as well as indigenous developments on long-range missiles. In addition, various declarations and documents of Iraq, including those from the “Chicken Farm”, had revealed that Iraq had deliberately concealed significant parts of its proscribed programmes, in particular in the chemical area. That had triggered considerable doubt about the sincerity of its intention to disarm. “This led to UNSCOM’s and then UNMOVIC’s increased and sustained attention to any disarmament issue that remained unresolved,” he said, stressing that he believed that such issues of concern were technical in nature and he would not detail them here.
At the same time, he noted that a number of such issues, such as the 25 known Al-Samoud II missiles that had not been destroyed by mid-March 2003, and the 326 unaccounted for SA-2 missile engines, had been reported to the Council in earlier briefings. UNMOVIC had also identified capabilities that might still remain in Iraq, including scientists and technicians involved in proscribed programmes, by which they had gained experience and know-how. There was also a large amount of dual-use equipment -- more than 7,900 items that UNMOVIC knew were in certain sites in Iraq as of March 2003, but of whose present whereabouts “we have no knowledge, except for the few found outside Iraq”, he said
Further, the Iraq Survey Group report stated that Iraq’s chemical industry had had the capability to restore chemical weapons production, as a result of improvements in the chemical infrastructure achieved during the latter half of the 1990s, he said. It further stated that large and important projects for the indigenous production of chemicals had been initiated to improve Iraq’s self-sufficiency in their availability. At the same time, it recognized that Iraq’s industry had still been struggling with serious shortages in many areas. UNMOVIC had arrived at similar conclusions regarding the production capability of Iraq’s chemical industry, after it had inspected all key facilities potentially capable of involvement in a chemical weapons programme, and determined that a number of them could be adapted for such a purpose, after reconfiguration of the equipment.
He said the know-how, at least part of it, necessary to develop proscribed activities, lay in the memory of each of those who had already participated in those activities. It might also be available in documents or records describing fabrication processes, sometimes referred to as “cook books”, including blueprints and test results. “UNMOVIC cannot provide assurances that all such documents and blueprints are in its possession or have been destroyed, and that none remain in the hands of Iraqi individuals,” he said. The use of that know-how and of relevant capabilities was expected to be monitored by the United Nations under the mechanisms set up by the Council, as long as the Council had been reaffirming disarmament obligations for Iraq under its relevant resolutions, and not through self-monitoring by Iraq’s national institutions.
He also said that a number of UNMOVIC’s present concerns and unresolved issues actually followed from the Iraq Survey Group’s findings, including the status as of 2004 of the Muthanna Facility, which had been the main chemical weapons production site in Iraq. The Group had reported that, although the site had been sealed under the observation of inspectors in 1994, it had since been breached and some of the materials and equipment had been removed. Chemical munitions were still stored in bunkers and the bunkers had tested positive for chemical weapons agents. UNMOVIC, therefore, no longer knew the current status of the items and materials that had been contained in the bunkers at the time the Handover Protocol between UNSCOM and Iraq had been signed in 1994.
“It is widely accepted that there can be no complete certainty that disarmament is fully achieved in a country,” he said, adding that, on a number of occasions, he and Dr. Hans Blix had referred to the “unavoidable residue of uncertainty” that would remain in that regard. A number of the still open issues in the chemical, biological and missile areas could have been clarified with some additional activities like sampling, interviews, check of documents in the possession of the Iraq Survey Group or even information from the coalition authorities. “Some issues would not have been resolved even with these measures,” he added.
Under the present circumstances, the remaining outstanding issues could not be resolved and, therefore, contributed to a residue of uncertainty, he reiterated. If Iraq had already acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention and was under the inspection regime of the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the uncertainty regarding its chemical weapons programmes would be reduced. That was important, given that any industrial developments in Iraq would see substantial increases in the size and extent of the chemical industry in the future.
As he had reported earlier, it has been nearly a year since UNMOVIC had provided extensive information intended to assist Iraq to submit to the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons an initial inventory of its chemical warfare programmes required by the Convention. It was up to the Council to exercise its judgement, whether or not it would accept the “residue of uncertainty” when taking a decision to close the Iraq weapons of mass destruction disarmament file, he said.
GUSTAVO ZLAUVINEN, speaking on behalf of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), recalled his 7 March 2003 report, in which he had informed the Council that the IAEA had found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq.
He said he had also informed the Council at that time that the IAEA would endeavour to evaluate Iraq’s capabilities on a continuous basis as part of its long-term monitoring and verification programme, in order to provide the international community with ongoing and real-time assurances.
The IAEA, he reiterated, had not been able, since 17 March 2003, to implement its Council mandate in Iraq, and had only been able to verify the remaining nuclear material in facilities in the area of Tuwaitha between 2003 and 2006. He hoped that, in the near future, once the security situation permitted, the Agency would be able to provide assurances of the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country.
He closed by expressing appreciation for the support provided by the Council to the Agency throughout the difficult 12 years of its work in dismantling Iraq’s clandestine nuclear programme, and in providing assurances that it had not been revived.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) commended the work of the dedicated professionals in UNMOVIC, IAEA and UNSCOM. He said that, since 2003, the Iraq Survey Group had taken all possible steps to investigate all credible reports of weapons of mass destruction in the country, and had demonstrated that no significant stockpile of such weapons existed there. The Multinational Force, however, continued to find residual materials, which it disposed of, in cooperation with the Iraqi Government.
Recalling the Government of Iraq’s obligations not to develop weapons of mass destruction, he said the current situation contrasted sharply with that under the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was evident that Iraq had the capacity to produce large quantities of chemical weapons within months, although most of those munitions had been destroyed in 1991. Since 2003, remaining chemical weapons sites had been secured to prevent harm to the Iraqi population.
Since 2003, evidence had been found of Saddam Hussein regime’s nuclear efforts before 1991, but no evidence had been found that a serious attempt had been made to revive those programmes since then. He described the commitments and efforts of the current Government, along with those of the Multinational Force, to monitor and secure radioactive sources within Iraq and along its borders.
In regard to missiles, he said evidence had been found of the former regime’s intention to develop and produce long-range delivery systems that could have been used for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction. No evidence had been found of the development of biological agents.
There was no longer reason to believe that significant weapons of mass destruction materials now existed in Iraq and, most importantly, Iraq was no longer a country that had any intent to use such terrible weapons, he concluded.
EMYR JONES PARRY ( United Kingdom) said that his delegation was grateful for the roles UNMOVIC, UNSCOM and IAEA had played in assessing Saddam Hussein’s compliance with relevant Council resolutions. He welcomed the Government of Iraq’s full constitutional commitment to take disarmament forward, including the establishment of a national monitoring directorate to oversee and monitor the movement of dual-use goods. The Council was not closing the file on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but was changing the approach to the matter. The United Kingdom believed that, for some time, neither UNMOVIC nor Iraq had been in a position to carry out non-proliferation efforts under proper conditions. It was up to the Council to ensure that, moving ahead, Iraq was able to carry out its obligations. The Council and the United Kingdom would do their part, but it was also up to Iraq’s neighbours to do their part to help Iraq continue to make progress in the area of non-proliferation.
JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER ( Qatar) said that, due to the changed situation in Iraq, it was no longer necessary for UNMOVIC to remain there. Qatar was pleased to see the final page turned on that difficult file, and was equally pleased to see that the reasons for opening it had been removed. He hoped that the entire region of the Middle East was now on the road to being nuclear-weapon free, including Israel. He urged the Council to adopt the text terminating the mandate of UNMOVIC and thanked all those that had participated in the monitoring and inspections programmes.
JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE ( France) said that, for a number of months, many Council members had called for the closing of the file on Iraq after some 16 years of activity. At the same time, there had been the need to address other sensitive issues, including the political dimension. Towards that end, the situation had changed dramatically, including through the election of a democratic Government. As for the security situation, there had been the need to ensure that conditions were such that there was no risk of the spread of weapons of mass destruction. France took note of the statements made by the United States and the United Kingdom regarding the steps taken by Iraq since 2003 to ensure that there were no weapons of mass destruction in the country. It had also taken note of the request of the Iraqi Government to terminate the mandates of UNMOVIC and IAEA’s Iraq Nuclear Verification Office.
He said that, while not all issues had been resolved, there was only a low level of uncertainty. There was a need to ensure that the Government of Iraq was prepared to take over the relevant mandate of the United Nations inspections and monitoring bodies in the country, to ensure that non-proliferation efforts moved forward. France was prepared to support the text and would call on the Government of Iraq to report to the Council, in one year, on its implementation.
HAMID AL-BAYATI ( Iraq) said the Council’s termination of UNMOVIC’s mandate and that of IAEA’s Iraq Nuclear Verification Office, marked the turning of an appalling chapter in Iraq’s modern day history. The Iraqi people had paid a very heavy price because the former regime had refused to cooperate with the international bodies responsible for eliminating weapons of mass destruction. The price was the loss of thousands of innocent lives, wasted national resources and the total destruction of infrastructure.
He noted that the draft resolution would oblige Iraq to respect and implement its international commitments regarding the non-proliferation, non-development, non-production and non-use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Associated equipment, material, technology and communications systems used in the development, manufacture, production and use of such weapons would be banned. Those were Iraq’s national obligations, as was its full cooperation with the Iraq Survey Group.
He reiterated Iraq’s commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as already stated in the Iraqi Foreign Minister’s April letter to the Security Council. The country would also abide by its commitment to the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. The Iraq technical authorities had drafted a law on Iraq’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was currently before Parliament. Preparations were also under way for the accession to the Model Additional Protocol of the IAEA safeguards regime and other international treaties and arrangements concerning disarmament and non-proliferation.
He considered the adoption of the draft resolution as reaffirming that all prohibitions on trade with Iraq and the provision of financial and economic resources as established by resolutions 661 (1990) and 687 (1991) would no longer apply. The country looked forward to transferring the assets in UNMOVIC’s escrow account to the Development Fund for Iraq and of UNMOVIC property to the Government. In accordance with the resolution, Iraq stood ready to inform the Council, within one year, of the progress made in adhering to all applicable disarmament and non-proliferation treaties. The National Monitoring Directorate would be committed to transferring dual-use material within a mechanism based on international standards.
While he appreciated the adoption of the present resolution before the Council, he also looked forward to the Council’s consideration of an appropriate mechanism to address another heavy burden on Iraq -- compensation for the previous regime’s invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi people, who had suffered under that regime’s brutal practices, should not be held responsible for its act of invasion. A mechanism was needed to address the compensation issue in such a way as to ease the financial burden on the country and enable it to allocate its resources to development activities.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa), commending the agencies for their work, recalled that the entire Council effort to disarm Iraq had a regional dimension and the Council was bound by its resolutions to create a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. It was also incumbent on the Council to oversee the securing of remaining materials and documents related to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. South Africa would vote for the resolution, though it maintained that the agencies should be closed on the basis of a United Nations assessment.
HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said he would vote in favour of the resolution because the contributions of UMOVIC and IAEA in Iraq were no longer required, and the new Government of Iraq was committed to non-proliferation. He expressed hope that the expertise of UNMOVIC would be retained in the system, and that remaining disarmament issues would be resolved, including early accession, by Iraq’s Government to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The country was experiencing a major transformation that was not easy, and the funds allocated to the two agencies could be used to help rebuild the country.
The Council then took up the draft resolution, adopting the text by a vote of 14 in favor to none against, with the Russian Federation abstaining.
Speaking after the vote, VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that he had abstained from the vote because there had been no official certification by UNMOVIC to close the Iraq file and nothing had been said about the fate of existing weapons in Iraq, including missiles that had not been destroyed. There had also been no definitive statement about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, it was important to clarify such issues as export controls and the supplies and non-destruction of certain weapons. Some of his concerns had indeed been addressed during consultations, but the full range had not been reflected in the resolution.
LI KEXIN ( China) said that the conduct of a full inspection and verification of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had been the subject of historic Council resolutions. IAEA and UNMOVIC had carried out those tasks under sometimes difficult circumstances, and China expressed its profound appreciation to the bodies for carrying out work that would stand the test of history. The situation in Iraq had undergone tremendous changes since the establishment of UNMOVIC, including the election of a democratic Government. Iraq had also created several national bodies to follow through on its newly stated obligations towards non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. China hoped that Iraq’s efforts would lead to the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. China would continue to support all efforts to create such a zone in that region.
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