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Butler sidelined by Annan deal

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 

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 

 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.

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