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Butler sidelined by Annan deal South News analysis UNSCOM chief Richard Butler was perhaps the only loser in the accord signed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on Monday with the essentials of a 1996 Ekeus formula codified in a signed agreement. His authority and prestige has been considerably sidelined. A new ``special group'' is to be appointed by Annan, in consultation with the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) in charge of disarming Iraq and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And the text makes clear the new group would not necessarily be led by UNSCOM but by a commissioner Annan would appoint. The unit would develop ``specific detailed procedures'' because of special nature of presidential sites. Any findings submitted to the council by this ``special group'' are to be reported by Richard Butler, through the secretary-general. The accord formalizes, in effect, an offer made to Iraq by the former Special Commission chairman, Rolf Ekeus, in June 1996 for procedures to inspect sites that Baghdad said were sensitive to national security. The Security Council resolution that set up the inspection program in 1991 drew no distinctions among suspected weapons sites, saying the U.N. teams had the authority to go wherever and whenever they wanted. Ekeus assumed that his 1996 offer of special procedures for the palaces would ease Iraqi concerns about sovereignty and, in turn, lessen what U.N. inspectors saw as Iraqi harassment. However the new commission chairman, Richard Butler, took office last year, he tried to scrap the Ekeus formula. The text also says inspections will be carried out under existing rules and ``specific detailed procedures which will be developed given the special nature of the presidential sites.'' The turmoil over the inspections has badly weakened Butler's position. Comments made by him to The New York Times that Iraq had enough chemical and biological weapons to ``blow away Tel Aviv, or whatever'' generated a firestorm in the Arab world and concern in Israel. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html