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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Statement

Secretary-General's statement at the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq [as delivered]

New York, 8 November 2002

Mr. President,

The Security Council Resolution adopted today has strengthened the cause of peace, and given renewed impetus to the search for security in an increasingly dangerous world.

The resolution sets out in clear terms Iraq's obligation to cooperate with the United Nations in ensuring the full and final disarmament of its weapons of mass destruction.

It leaves no doubt as to what these obligations are, nor as to how they must be fulfilled. Iraq now has a new opportunity to comply with all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

I urge the Iraqi leadership -- for the sake of its own people, and for the sake of world security and world order -- to seize this opportunity, and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people. If Iraq's defiance continues, however, the Security Council must face its responsibilities.

This resolution is based on law, collective effort, and the unique legitimacy of the United Nations. It represents an example of multilateral diplomacy serving the cause of peace and security.

It reflects a renewed commitment to preventing the development and spread of weapons of mass destruction, and the universal wish to see this goal obtained by peaceful means.

I commend the leaders, and the Council members, who have worked so hard to negotiate this resolution. I know that it has not been easy to reach agreement. It has required both patience and persistence. But the effort has been well worthwhile. Whenever the Council is united, it sends a very powerful signal and I hope that Iraq will heed that signal.

I also wish to recognize those countries, especially members of the League of Arab States, who persuaded Iraq to change its previous position.

It is important that Governments with influence on Iraq remain engaged in the effort to obtain Iraq's compliance with its international obligations.

The road ahead will be difficult and dangerous. But empowered by this resolution, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency stand equipped to carry out their vital task.

To succeed, they will require full and unconditional cooperation on the part of Iraq, and the continued determination of the international community to pursue its common aim in a united and effective manner.

This is a time of trial – for Iraq, for the United Nations and for the world. The goal is to ensure the peaceful disarmament of Iraq in compliance with Security Council resolutions and a better, more secure future for its people.

How this crisis is resolved will affect greatly the course of peace and security in the coming years in the region, and the world.

I commend the Council for acting today with purpose and resolve.

Thank you very much.


Statements on 8 November 2002