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Tariq Aziz's letter

>From the BBC.  Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz's letter to UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

                  Your Excellency, this morning, your
                  personal representative Prakash
                  Shah told me that he was informed
                  that a decision was made to
                  evacuate all the staff of Unscom and
                  the IAEA from Baghdad today, and
                  as a precautionary measure,
                  unnecessary employees working in the humanitarian
                  programme in Iraq will be evacuated. 

                  I would like to explain the following: 

                  "The Government of Iraq has not asked Unscom
                  or the IAEA to leave Iraq. Moreover, the decision
                  of the Iraqi Government issued on 31 October
                  allows the IAEA to continue its work in the field of

                  The reasons for taking this measures were not
                  explained to us, and we were not told which party
                  has made this decision. 

                  In light of the US threats to wage military
                  aggression against Iraq without any authorisation
                  from the Security Council, this Unscom decision
                  proves once again and beyond any doubt that
                  Unscom acts upon the orders of the US
                  Government, and co-ordinates its activities in Iraq
                  with this government. 

             This confirms what we have always said in our letters to
             you and to the Security Council, as well as in our
             statements, about the connection between Unscom and
             the United States. 

             The claim that Unscom is a subsidiary agency belonging
             to the Security Council and that it is a UN agency
             cannot be supported by facts on the ground. 

             This is a mere deceptive cover.. 

             These developments entail a great responsibility for the
             Security Council and for you, according to the charter. 

             We hope that these developments will be dealt with
             according to these responsibilities. 

             Please convey the text of this letter to the president and
             members of the Security Council.

Clinton's speech today (bizarrely enough, threatening to start a war
whilst supposedly commemorating the First World War dead):

             Reversing Iraq's decision and getting
             Unscom back on the job remains
             the most effective way to uncover,
             destroy and prevent Iraq from
             reconstituting weapons of mass
             destruction and the missiles to
             deliver them. 

             But, if the inspectors are not permitted to visit suspect
             sites or monitor compliance at known production
             facilities, they may as well be in Baltimore, not

             That would open a window of
             opportunity for Iraq to rebuild its
             arsenal of weapons and delivery
             systems in months. I say again, in
             months, not years. 

             A failure to respond could embolden Saddam to act
             recklessly, signalling to him that he can with impunity
             develop these weapons of mass destruction or threaten
             his neighbours. 

             In an age when we look forward to weapons of mass
             destruction being a significant threat to civilised people
             everywhere, it would permanently damage the credibility
             of the United Nations Security Council to act as a force
             for promoting international peace and security. 

             We continue to hope, indeed pray, that Saddam will
             comply, but we must be prepared to act if he does not.


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