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Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs' view on weapons decommissioning




Text of remarks delivered by
                     H.E. Mr. Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf,
         Minister for Foreign Affairs to Members of the Security Council
                                on April 27, 1998

Mr. Chairman, 
Distinguished Members of the Council, 

Thank you, at the outset, for giving us this opportunity to attend this
meeting under the Arias formula, particularly that it comes after the
Council had resumed its meetings to review the sanctions regime imposed on
my country after a long interruption.

The Security Council is now considering three reports on Iraq: the report
of the Special Group, which visited the presidential sites in
implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Iraq and
the United Nations on 23 February 1998, the semi annual report of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the semi-annual report of
the Special Commission.  The first conclusion to be reached by any person,
who reads these reports thoroughly, is that three parties of United
Nations dealt With one party, Iraq, according to Security Council
resolution 687 (1991). Two of these three United Nations parties, IAEA and
the diplomats and IAEA experts, who were members of the Special Group
which visited the presidential sites under the chairmanship of Mr.
Dhanapala, reached positive conclusions, showing great progress in
completing their tasks in Iraq.

The third party, however, the Special Commission, took, a negative
approach in the preparation of its semi-annual report, as well as in the
preparation of the report of its Deputy Chairman,, Mr. Duelfer, on the
participation of UNSCOM's inspectors in the Special Group headed by Mr.
Dhanapala. The distinguished members of the Council must have wondered why
this insistence on the negative approach adopted by the Special
Commission, Is there any real justification for this? We believe that
UNSCOM has no real justification for its negative approach, Its semi
annual report is lacking in objectivity, and fairness.  It deviates from
the basic rules for dealing with disarmament issues and denies Iraq's
accomplishments in meeting the requirements of Section C of resolution 687
(1991) during the past seven years. It gives the impression as though
nothing has been achieved, puts the blame on Iraq and justifies the
continuation of the harsh and inhuman sanctions imposed on it. This report
presents a gloomy picture of the accomplishments made during the past
seven years in the three areas: missiles and chemical and biological
weapons. This Picture is totally at variance with reality, Following is a
summary of what has been accomplished.

In the area of missiles,

All substantive aspects related to the disarmament phase have been
achieved.  I will give you a brief summary of this subject

The Special Commission has been able, with Iraq's full cooperation, to
verify the material balance for 819 missiles, including all the missiles
which were in Iraq's possession when resolution 687 (1991) was adopted.
These totaled 133 missiles and 14 missile launchers, in addition to
hundreds of major parts, equipment, molds and thousands of other parts,

Tens of tons of raw materials, propellants, which represented all what was
in Iraq's possession, have been destroyed. Testing and production
buildings for the past missiles programme have also been destroyed.

The Special Commission completed the verification of what has been
mentioned above by the middle of 1992. From 1991 to the present, 80
inspection teams in the area of missiles, in which 1129 inspectors and
experts took part, visited Iraq, and since November 1991, these inspection
teams have not found any prohibited material or any indication that there
were any prohibited activities, because the truth is that there is no
longer in Iraq any prohibited material or any capability in the area of
the prohibited missiles, seven years of inspections, verification and
destruction have confirmed that.

The resident monitoring teams in Baghdad, which number 47 teams sent to
Baghdad since 1994, do carry out surprise visits daily. They have made 800
such visits to the sites covered by the monitoring system, which number 40
sites. They also visited other sites,, which are not covered by the
monitoring system. The Special Commission had installed about (20)
monitoring Camera and sensors in eight key sites.  The Special Commission
also tagged hundreds of missiles covered by the monitoring system. They
are being monitored constantly, with full cooperation from the Iraqi side.

Since July 1997, the Special Commission has again verified the material
balance for warheads.  The Commission had previously verified this matter
in mid 1992. The number of special warheads (chemical and biological) was
79 warheads, 49 of all which were destroyed unilaterally by Iraq.  The
results of the second verification carried out recently by the Special
Commission confirmed the truth and veracity of Iraqi declarations.

In the area of chemical weapons,

In 1991, the Special Commission supervised the destruction of all blank
chemical munitions., which numbered 12,500 rounds of air bombs and
artillery shells. The Special Commission supervised in 1992 the
destruction of 400 artillery rockets of 122-mm caliber in a delicate
operation that lasted 40 days, in which the Iraqi side had made special
efforts.

During the period Of June 1992 to June 1994, the Special Commission
supervised the destruction at Al- Muthanna facility.  The Commission used
methods and equipment proposed and carried out by Iraqi experts to
complete destruction in the shortest possible time and at the lowest
possible cost, while avoiding possible pollution of the environment. The
destruction included the following:

* One million kilograms of solid precursors. 

* 1.8 million liters of liquid precursors. 

* 83, 500 blank and live rounds of ammunition. 

* 700 tons of final produced agents. 

* 150 pieces of production equipment. 

* 6 sites for production and storage. 

In 1997, the Special Commission demanded the destruction of dual purpose
laboratory equipment and instruments as well as dual-purpose chemical
materials, which the Commission had identified and accounted for. The
Commission claims in its new demand that these items had (perhaps) some
relationship to the agent VX, which was never produced in large quantities
nor weaponized at all. The destruction was actually carried out. It
included 385 disabled pieces of equipment, 90 analysis instruments and 275
tons of chemical materials.

The number of sites covered by the monitoring system was 100 sites.
Thirty-five monitoring camera, and 22 air samplers were installed in 13 of
these sites. Hundreds of tags were placed on machines and pieces of
equipment, not only those belonging to the Military Industrialization
corporation . Tags were even placed on equipment that was in several sites
belonging to Ministries, such as the Ministry of Higher Education,
Agriculture and Oil, as well as in some private-sector companies.

The report of the Special Commission, submitted to the Security Council in
October 1997, identified the subjects that, in the opinion of the Special
Commission, were still outstanding in the chemical area as two subjects
only:

(a) the subject of VX: and

(b) the special warheads. 

The Iraqi side submitted all the requested clarifications on VX and the
verification of special warheads was completed.

In the biological area. 

The Special Commission has been able since 1996 to supervise the
destruction of production equipment and laboratory analysis instruments,
in addition to structures, materials and general equipment belonging to
the single-cell protein project. on the pretext that they were in the main
site of production of biological agents- The equipment and materials
destroyed included:

 Hundreds of pieces of production equipment, which were used for
biological agents and laboratory analysis instruments at several sites. 

 Tens of tons of different growth media and materials. 

 Tens of thousands or square meters of structures and storage places. 

The Special Commission was able since 1996 to verify the destruction of
biological warheads in the course of verifying the special missile
warheads, in addition to 157 aerial bombs.

The Special Commission was able to verify the destruction of biological
agents produced (which were not loaded on arms) in terms of quality. The
two sides, the Special Commission and Iraq, are trying to find practical
ways to ensure the verification of the destroyed quantities of those
agents. 

In the area of monitoring, 88 sites have been placed under the monitoring
system.

The sites are located in several agencies, including the Ministries of
Industry and Mines, Higher Education, Health and Agriculture.  Biological
monitoring teams make daily surprise visits to these sites, in two of
which observation cameras were installed. They also tagged hundreds of
pieces of equipment and instruments throughout the monitored sites, The
biological monitoring teams made nearly 1200 visits to sites under
on-going monitoring and also to un-monitored sites. No indication of the
presence of prohibited materials or activities in Iraq were found during
these visits, In spite of all these facts, the Special Commission
maintains that the Iraqi declaration was incomplete and insufficient and
did not include supporting documents.  Iraq had made it clear from the
beginning that it had delivered to the Special Commission all the
documents in its possession in the biological field.

The full and final Iraqi declaration on the biological file is a true and
actual one- It gives an honest historical account of Iraq's past
biological programme, which has been completely destroyed and is no longer
in existence. The Special Commission has not been able to submit any
tangible evidence to support its criticisms, which are of a political and
propagandistic nature.

In addition to the aforementioned regarding the ongoing monitoring system
in the three fields , the aerial inspection team conducted (6250) flight
hours of surprise aerial inspection from June 1992 until mid April 1998. 
Those aerial inspection operations done by helicopters covered all sites
included in the monitoring system and even sites that are not included in
that system.

Mr. Chairman, 
Distinguished members of the council

Iraq is fully confident that the requirements of the disarmament phase in
the three files have been completed.  If there is anything that requires
follow-up after the completion of this phase and the application of
paragraph 22, Iraq calls for quick action to be taken in accordance with
the process established by the Special Commission in paragraph 12 of its
report to the Security Council of 1 December 1993, which reads as follows: 

12. The Commission expressed its firm conviction that verification of the
information now available on Iraq's past programmes could be completed
substantially in advance of the Commission being in a position to
determine that ongoing monitoring was underway and proceeding in a
satisfactory Manner. The Commission emphasized that verification would be
pursued together with the initiation of full- scale ongoing monitoring. In
the Unlikely event that some elements of verification were unduly delayed,
they would continue to be pursued during the monitoring phase.  Therefore,
verification need not delay any reports by the Commission and by IAEA
under paragraph 22 of resolution 687 (1991), Should any new information of
past programmes be forthcoming in the future,.. the Commission and IAEA
welcomed Iraq's express recognition of the right of the Commission and
IAEA, after implementation of paragraph 22 of resolution 687 (1991), to
undertake immediate on-site inspections.

Mr. Chairman, 
Distinguished Members of the Council,

Iraq has given a detailed reply. to the semi-annual report of' the Special
Commission in the letter addressed to the President of the Security
Council by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on 22 April 1998.  It has been
circulated to the members of the Security Council.  According to this
letter of Iraq, I would like to summarize the position of my country as
follows:

Security Council resolution 687 was adopted in 1991 seven years ago.  On
going monitoring has been in place for 4 years, i.e., since 1994.  All
weapons prohibited under resolution 687 were destroyed by the end of 1991. 
All related factories and equipment have been destroyed- Sanctions were
expected to be lifted long ago, The Iraqi people have been subjected to
unprecedented injustice by the policy of continued starvation and repeated
assaults. Nevertheless, regardless of the degree of inequity and injustice
to which it has been subjected, Iraq has, nevertheless, cooperated with
the Security Council and the Special Commission in the hope that promises
of the lifting of sanction talked about by representatives of the Special
Commission and members of the Security Council be carried out. During the
two crises that took place last November and last February, Iraq held
serious talks with members of the Security Council and responded
positively to the appeals of many officials of the international
community, Recently, it responded to the Russian initiative and to that of
Mr. Kofi Annan. It did not view either one of them only on the basis of
the details contained therein, but also on the basis of what was said that
their implementation would lead to the lifting of sanctions. Therefore,
particularly after the facts became very clear, when the Special Group
constituted by Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary -General of the United Nations
entered into the presidential sites and found that, contrary to the false
allegations that they contained prohibited weapons, plants and equipment,
there was nothing of that sort in them.  Iraq hoped that the Security
Council's discussion this month would focus on the main issue and would
lead to the lifting of the sanctions. Iraq is still hoping for this as a
due result of its major sacrifices to be realized, particularly in view of
the fact that it has fulfilled all the requirements for the lifting of the
sanctions.

If fair-minded people in the Security Council and the international
community want the relations between Iraq and the Security Council and the
Special Commission to be established on a basis of equity and proper legal
interpretation of resolution 687, they should deal seriously with the
question of sanctions and lift them immediately. They should take
seriously the statements issued by the Leadership and the Council of'
Ministers of Iraq.  These statements include the appeal of the 22 million
Iraqis who are demanding the lifting of sanctions.

Mr. Chairman, 
Distinguished Members of the Council, 

In spite of Iraq's accomplishments of the requirements of disarmament
mentioned above, we unfortunately see that the Special Commission's report
does not accurately reflect the accomplishments actually realized.  It
arrived at wrong and baseless conclusions by adopting strange concepts
that resulted in hindering recognition that Iraq had fulfilled its
commitments under paragraph 22 of resolution 687 (1991). My colleague, the
Minister of Oil, General Amer Mohammed Rashid, will address the concept,
and allegations of the Special Commission,

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 
  

April 27, 1998 


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