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Text Of Clinton Statement On Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Following is the text of President Clinton's
statement on Iraq delivered Sunday. [15-Nov-1998]

Last night, Iraq agreed to meet the demands of the international community
to cooperate fully with the United Nations weapons inspectors. Iraq
committed to unconditional compliance. It rescinded its decisions of
August and October to end cooperation with the inspectors. It withdrew its
objectionable conditions. 

In short, Iraq accepted its obligation to permit all activities of the
weapons inspectors, UNSCOM and the IAEA, to resume, in accordance with the
relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. The United States,
together with Great Britain, and with the support of our friends and
allies around the world, was poised to act militarily if Iraq had not
reversed course. Our willingness to strike, together with the overwhelming
weight of world opinion, produced the outcome we preferred -- Saddam
Hussein reversing course, letting the inspectors go back to work without
restrictions or conditions. 

As I have said since this crisis began, the return of the inspectors, if
they can operate in an unfettered way, is the best outcome, because they
have been and they remain the most effective tool to uncover, destroy and
prevent Iraq from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction and the
missiles to deliver them. 

Now let me be clear. Iraq has backed down, but that is not enough. Now
Iraq must live up to its obligations. Iraq has committed to
unconditionally resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. What does
that mean? First, Iraq must resolve all outstanding issues raised by
UNSCOM and the IAEA. Second, it must give inspectors unfettered access to
inspect and to monitor all sites they choose, with no restrictions or
qualifications, consistent with the memorandum of understanding Iraq
itself signed with Secretary-General Annan in February. Third, it must
turn over all relevant documents. Fourth, it must accept all weapons of
mass destruction-related resolutions. Fifth, it must not interfere with
the independence or the professional expertise of the weapons inspectors. 

Last night, again, I confirmed with the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
that he shares these understandings of Iraq's obligations. 

In bringing on this crisis, Iraq isolated itself from world opinion and
opinion in the region more than at any time since the Gulf War. 

The United Nations Security Council voted 15 to 0 to demand that Saddam
Hussein reverse course. Eight Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia,
five other Gulf states -- warned Saddam that Iraq alone would bare
responsibility for the consequences of defying the United Nations. 

The world spoke with one voice. Iraq must accept once and for all that the
only path forward is complete compliance with its obligations to the
world. Until we see complete compliance, we will remain vigilant, we will
keep up the pressure, we will be ready to act. 

This crisis also demonstrates, unfortunately once again, that Saddam
Hussein remains an impediment to the well being of his people and a threat
to the peace of his region and the security of the world. 

We will continue to contain the threat that he poses by working for the
elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability under UNSCOM.
Enforcing the sanctions of the no-fly zone. Responding firmly to any Iraqi

However, over the long term, the best way to address that threat is
through a government in Baghdad -- a new government that is committed to
represent and respect its people, not repress them. That is committed to
peace in the region. 

Over the past year we have deepened our engagement with the forces of
change in Iraq, reconciling the two largest Kurdish opposition groups,
beginning broadcasts of a Radio Free Iraq throughout the country.  We will
intensify that effort, working with Congress to implement the Iraq
Liberation Act, which was recently passed; strengthening our political
support to make sure the opposition -- or to do what we can to make the
opposition a more effective voice for the aspirations of the Iraq people. 

Let me say again, what we want and what we will work for is a government
in Iraq that represents and respects its people -- not represses them. And
one committed to live in peace with its neighbors. In the century we're
leaving, America has often made the difference between tyranny and freedom
-- between chaos and community -- between fear and hope. 

In this case, as so often in the past, the reason America can make this
difference is the patriotism and professionalism of our military. Once
again, it's strength, it's readiness, it's capacity, is advancing
America's interests in the cause of world peace. We must remain vigilant,
strong and ready -- here and wherever our interests and values are at
stake. Thanks to our military we will be able to do so. 

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