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French and Swiss test results (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 11:55:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kathy Kelly <>
Subject: French and Swiss test results

Dear Friends,  Below is a news report from the United Nations regarding
French and Swiss test results of Iraqi missile parts recovered by UN weapons
inspectors.  We think it will be useful in campaign efforts to end the UN/US
sanctions against Iraq.
Please consider contacting your local media and your congressional
representatives to assure that they are aware of this development.  

Forty one congressional reps have now signed a letter to President Clinton
urging an end to the economic sanctions against Iraq.  There's still time to
gain more signers, - a tentative date for submitting the letter to President
Clinton is October 6, 1998.  
Our fifteenth VitW delegation is presently in Iraq and two more groups plan
to leave during October.  We'll keep you posted about their reports as they

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance to you in outreach and
education efforts.


Kathy Kelly  for Voices in the Wilderness

 UNITED NATIONS -- Swiss and French analysts have reported finding no
evidence of VX nerve gas on Iraqi missile parts recovered by U.N. weapons
inspectors, contrary to findings by a U.S. Army laboratory, a U.N. official
familiar with the results said Monday.<P>

   The European test results, which are unofficial and expected to be made
public Thursday, represent a diplomatic setback for the United States and
the weapons inspectors, who had described the earlier U.S. findings as
incontrovertible proof that Iraq lied in repeated assertions that it had
never loaded the swift-killing nerve agent into missile warheads.<P>

   When he presented the U.S. test results to the U.N. Security Council in
June, chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler described them as
``utterly unambiguous'' evidence that before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraq
had loaded missiles with VX, which can kill a person within minutes of
exposure. The findings bolstered the U.S. and British hard-line position on
Iraq and unnerved Iraqi sympathiz
ers such as France.<P>

   The U.N. official on Monday said Butler is unlikely to back off of his
earlier statement, since the Swiss and French did not test the same missile
fragments as did the U.S. Army laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
The material tested by the Maryland lab -- sections of warheads destroyed by
Iraq after the Gulf War -- still is in the United States. The missile parts
tested in Switzerland a
nd France were taken from the same weapons dump in the Iraqi desert,
according to the United Nations.<P>

   ``This doesn't mean the U.S. tests were wrong; it just means that there
wasn't any (VX) on the bits tested in Europe,'' said the U.N. official, who
requested anonymity.<P>

   Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the Swiss and French findings represent
a political problem for the inspectors and the United States.<P>

   U.S. and U.N. officials had confidently predicted that the European tests
would confirm the earlier findings and provide further evidence of Iraqi
mendacity. Instead, the new results play into the hands of the Iraqis, who
have asserted that the U.S. findings were an error or a lie intended to
cultivate anti-Iraqi sentiment on the Security Council.<P>

   The additional tests were scheduled at the request of the Iraqi
government, which demanded analysis in a ``neutral country.'' The Swiss
analysis was described as complete. French testing was said to be nearly
done and not expected to find any evidence of VX. The London-based Arabic
language newspaper Al Hayat last week quoted French officials as saying
there was no evidence of the nerve agent.<

   The timing of the test results presents additional difficulty for the
United States, which has been seeking support on the Security Council for a
tougher stance against Iraq, including the possible use of force, in
response to the Iraqis' decision in August to block most activities by the
U.N. weapons inspectors.<P>

   Failure of the European analysts to find VX is expected to be trumpeted
by the government of President Saddam Hussein as a vindication of Iraqi
claims that the inspectors are manipulated by the United States. Under terms
of the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire accord, the inspectors must certify that
Iraq has eliminated its ability to conduct chemical, biological and nuclear
warfare before the Security
 Council can lift economic sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation.<P>

   Tensions between Iraq and the United Nations have risen since Hussein's
government cut off most cooperation with weapons inspectors last month. The
council recently declared that it would not consider lifting sanctions until
the Iraqis reverse that decision. In turn, Iraq has threatened to take
further action against the inspectors unless the sanctions are lifted.<P>

Voices in the Wilderness
A Campaign to End the US/UN Economic Sanctions Against the People of Iraq
1460 West Carmen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
ph:773-784-8065; f: 773-784-8837

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