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Foreign Office stance

Hi everyone,

Sorry to send you so much stuff, but things are happening rather quickly
at the moment, to say the least.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today published some
pages about its policy and views regarding Iraq on its website at

It's worth a look, and has links to transcripts of press conferences etc
about the possible military action.

The following is the document you might have heard referred to on the
news, produced today by the FCO in justification of their stance. Even if
it's all true, to me it doesn't seem to justify the immediate bombing of
Iraq, and it certainly doesn't agree with the many reports of how keen
Iraq is to enter into dialogue. Is there any way of getting a feel for how
Iraq is really behaving?



(Also available at


The Foreign Secretary today released to Parliament an FCO paper [below] on
the work done by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the continuing
threat from Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

The Foreign Office have produced the paper in response to the
strong Parliamentary and public interest in Iraq's existing WMD
capability and the efforts of the international community to
destroy Saddam Hussein's stocks and prevent him from developing his
weapons programmes further. 

Copies of the paper are being placed in the Libraries of both
Houses and are being sent individually to all Members of

On leaving for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Robin Cook said: 

'We are facing a grave situation.  The authority of the United
Nations is at stake.  It is important that we make the fullest
information available to Parliament and the public.  Iraq has built
up an appalling stock of weapons.  We must be certain that they are
totally eradicated and cannot be rebuilt.' 


Under UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 687 (April 1991), which
set out the cease-fire terms for ending the Gulf War, Iraq is
obliged to: 

(a)  accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless of
     all its 

     -  nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and ballistic
        missiles with a range over 150 kilometres; and 

     -  research, development, and manufacturing facilities
        associated with the above; and 

(b)  undertake not to develop such weapons in the future. 

The Secretary-General was instructed to establish a Special
Commission (UNSCOM) to oversee these processes.  Iraq must give
full cooperation, in particular immediate, unrestricted access to
any site UNSCOM needs to inspect. 


Despite constant Iraqi deceit, concealment, harassment and
obstruction, UNSCOM has succeeded in destroying: 

-  38,000 chemical weapons 
-  480,000 litres of live chemical weapon agents 
-  48 operational missiles 
-  Six missile launchers 
-  30 special missile warheads for chemical and biological
-  hundreds of items of CW production equipment.  Iraq
   originally claimed much of it was for peaceful use but later
   admitted its real purpose. 
-  Iraq claimed that the VX nerve gas project was a failure.
   UNSCOM has discovered Iraq had the capability to produce VX on
   an industrial scale, and produced four tonnes.  Work was also
   going on into numerous other agents:  sarin, tabun and mustard
-  the A1 Hakam BW factory (3kms by 6kms) which was able to
   produce 50,000 litres of anthrax and botulinum.  Iraq claimed it
   was for animal feed. 

One hundred kilograms of anthrax released from the top of a tall
building in a densely populated area could kill up to three million

UNSCOM has also discovered that Iraq produced 19,000 litres of
botulinum, 8,400 litres of anthrax, 2,000 litres of aflatoxin
(produces liver cancer) and clostridium (gas gangrene).  Iraq has
admitted filling ballistic missile warheads and bombs with the
first three of these agents.  These weapons were subsequently
destroyed.  Iraq denied the existence of all of these biological
agents until August 1995. 

UNSCOM has also put into place a systematic monitoring system to
watch facilities suspected of producing WMD. 


Iraq has consistently tried to evade its responsibilities.  Its
required full disclosure document on missiles was not produced
until July 1996, five years after it was demanded.  It has so far
produced three versions on chemical weapons and four on biological
weapons, all shown to be seriously inaccurate. 

In particular, UNSCOM is concerned that: 

-  Iraq may still have operational SCUD-type missiles with
   chemical and biological warheads.  Critical missile components,
   warheads, and propellant are not accounted for.  Nor are 17
   tonnes of growth media for BW agents - enough to produce more
   than three times the amount of anthrax Iraq admits it had.  Key
   items of CW production equipment are also missing. 

-  UNSCOM strongly suspects that admitted Iraqi figures for
   production of BW agent are still too low.

-  Iraq's CW programme was on an enormous scale.  4,000 tonnes
   of CW precursors are not accounted for.  These could have
   produced several hundred tonnes of CW agents, enough to fill
   several thousand munitions.  Over 31,000 CW munitions are not
   accounted for.

-  Over 600 tonnes of VX precursors are also not accounted for.
   These could make 200 tonnes of VX.  One drop is enough to kill.
   200 tonnes could wipe out the world's population.


-  Iraq has consistently denied UNSCOM inspectors the access
   they need to follow up these and other concerns and locate both
   WMD capabilities and documentation which might reveal more about
   Iraq's WMD programmes.  Documents and material have been removed
   from and destroyed inside sites while UNSCOM inspectors have
   been held outside prevented from entering.  The pattern of
   defiance has got worse over time.  Throughout most of 1997 Iraq
   made difficulties over access to an arbitrary and self-advised
   category of supposed 'sensitive' sites.  Iraq has now put an
   absolute ban on visits by UNSCOM to so called 'Presidential'
   sites, and has imposed a unilateral deadline of 20 May for the
   lifting of sanctions.  It has tried to claim that UNSCOM
   inspection teams contain a disproportionate number of UK and US

-  Hostile demonstrations against UNSCOM have been organised.
   Iraqi 'minders' have even endangered lives by trying to take
   control of UNSCOM helicopters in mid-air. 


UNSCOM needs to continue to monitor Iraqi WMD facilities because: 

-  UNSCOM has evidence of a deliberate government-controlled
   mechanism of concealment to continue developing WMD and
   procuring materials.  Given the chance, Iraq would undoubtedly
   resume WMD production. 

-  Iraq has four plants which have been used to produce CW
   munitions, and 30 which could be converted to produce CW
   materials.  It has numerous personnel with the required
   expertise.  These factories cannot be destroyed because they
   have legitimate alternative civilian uses.  But it is
   important that they are monitored closely. 

-  Without monitoring, Iraq could produce CW and BW in weeks, a
   long-range missile in a year, and a nuclear weapon in five

-  Iraq could produce up to 350 litres of weapons grade anthrax
   per week - enough to fill two missile warheads.  It could
   produce mustard CW agent within weeks. 

-  Iraq has continued trying to acquire banned WMD technology.
   In late 1995 Jordan intercepted a shipment of advanced missile
   guidance parts on the way to Iraq. 

The former Chairman of UNSCOM, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus stated
publicly in 1993 that he believed Iraq fully intends to restore its
military industrial base.  'The capabilities are there, the supply
system including banks and payments is there.  The day the oil
embargo is lifted, Iraq will get all the cash.  With the cash, the
suppliers, and the skills they will be able to re-establish all the
weapons ...  It may grow up like mushrooms after the rain.' 

That remains true today. 

The present Chairman of UNSCOM, Ambassador Richard Butler told the
Security Council on 23 January 1998 that 

'If Iraq ...  avoids answering questions ...  and prevents UNSCOM
from finding the answers, it is gravely to be doubted that we would
be able to verify Iraq's claims that it has met its disarmament
obligations established by the Security Council. 

'Iraq appears determined to withhold any further information, and
to prevent UNSCOM from finding it itself.' 


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