Security Council 8 November 2002
Ireland warmly welcomes the unity that the Council has shown in the adoption of this resolution. This is a strong message from the Security Council acting in accord.
We concur fully with the Secretary-General's eloquent and telling statement, this morning to all of us, the Council and all of the member States of the United Nations, including Iraq.
We have noted carefully, and we welcome, the assurances given by the sponsors that their purpose in presenting this resolution was to achieve disarmament through inspections, and not to establish a basis for the use of military force. The use of force is, and must remain, a matter of last resort.
This is, therefore, a resolution about disarmament, not war. It is about removing all threat of war. Iraq has been offered a rigorous and fair way forward towards meeting its disarmament obligations, while avoiding the use of force.
However, the resolution can leave Iraq in no doubt that it must now cooperate fully with arms inspectors, and reassure the world, finally, that it has divested itself of weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them, or face serious consequences.
Ireland supports the Resolution because it offers the most likely means of:
- securing Iraq's voluntary compliance with its disarmament obligations; - avoiding a military conflict; and
- preserving the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The resolution represents the outcome of nearly two months of painstaking negotiations in the Council. It has been a remarkable demonstration of the Council's ability to achieve compromise in order to meet its responsibilities to the wider membership of the United Nations Organisation.
Ireland believes that the integrity of the UN Charter, and the prerogatives of the Security Council, are fully preserved in the terms of this resolution. For Ireland this is an issue of the most fundamental importance. The resolution provides for a clear sequential process, whereby UNMOVIC or the IAEA will give the Council its assessment of any material breach, or alleged material breach, of Iraq's obligations under Security Council resolutions. The matter will then be fully examined by the Security Council itself.
As far as Ireland is concerned, it is for the Council to decide on any ensuing action. Our debate on 17-18 October made it clear that this is the broadly held view within the United Nations. However, we are confident that should it be necessary, the Council will, in the words of the Secretary-General, face its responsibilities.
The resolution strengthens the hand of the inspectors in valuable ways, and Ireland is fully confident that they will approach their task, and apply their mandate, with the necessary firmness and wisdom. We know that they are fully conscious of the fact that they act on behalf of the entire international community. The United Nations character of UNMOVIC, established in resolution 1284, and the multilateral character of the IAEA, are a guarantee that the inspections will be carried out with the necessary objectivity, and will be strictly limited to the purpose of their mandate, which is the disarmament of Iraq in respect of weapons of mass destruction. Nothing should prejudice the perception that the inspections will be conducted in an independent and impartial manner.
As the concept of material breach is a key element of this resolution, let me make it clear that Ireland's understanding of this concept is in accordance with the definition contained in the 1961 Convention €the Law of Treaties: "the violation of a provision essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the treaty". There is no doubt on the basis of this definition that Iraq has been in material breach of its obligations. We fully expect this same definition to be applied in determining whether any further material breach has occurred, should it become necessary to do so.
The Iraqi people have waited far too long for their chance to recover from a decade of war followed by a decade of sanctions. The time has now come for Iraq to resume the path of peaceful economic and social development, which is so strongly desired and deserved by the Iraqi people.
The Security Council, representing the international community, has today assumed its responsibilities in order to avert a perilous crisis. The Security Council has given Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations. The Iraqi authorities must now respond by assuming their own responsibilities under the Charter. Ireland calls on the Iraqi government to choose the path of peace, to cooperate fully with the inspectors, and to comply with all its other obligations under Security Council resolutions. It must do so for the sake of its own people, that of its neighbours, and in the interests of international peace and security.