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Background on Document Conflict/Iraq (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 09:42:20 EST

This recent news conference provides useful background for those concerned
about the current conflict over documents requested by UNSCOM.


Doha, Qatar, al-Jazirah Space Channel Television
in Arabic
23 Nov 98 1600 GMT

[News conference by Iraqi Foreign Ministry Under Secretary
Riyadh al Qaysi with Arab and foreign correspondents in
Baghdad; in English with simultaneous translation in Arabic]

[FBIS translated text]

Al Qaysi, in progress] on the detailed letter that we addressed to the
president of the Security Council in the early hours of this morning.  As
you know, the Security Council is supposed to meet today in the form of
consultations on the latest episode, which was-should I say-concocted by
Mr. Butler against Iraq. 

The question is that on the 17th and 18th of this month, Mr.  Butler
addressed two letters to Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.  The letter on
the 17th requested the presentation, essentially, of documentation on 12
items.  The second letter on the 18th was exclusively devoted to the
question of biological weapons.  We responded to these two letters.  He
thought it appropriate to address another letter to us, and he annexed
with it a letter, which he addressed to the president of the Security
Council, accusing Iraq of a lack of cooperation in responding to the
request made in his two letters.  Having studied that letter, we decided
to respond directly to the president of the Security Council by detailed
letter, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, and that was sent, to
be exact on our side, in the early hours of this morning, about 0130

And what did these two letters from Mr. Butler try to establish?  Under
the guise of trying to increase, as he put it, the general level of
verification, he requested 12 items of documentation.  And he is telling
the president of the council that Iraq did not respond to this question,
neither on the documentation nor on the biological [weapons] because the
perception of Iraq is that the comprehensive review has already commenced
and that Iraq is only prepared to cooperate within the comprehensive
review.  And that, from his point of view, is against the decision of the
Security Council.  To be short, Iraq is reneging on what it stated on the
14th of November to the Security council that: It is ready to resume full
cooperation with the UN Special Commission [UNSCOM]. 

In fact, nothing of the sort, and I stress, nothing of the sort was
contained in our two replies to the letters of the 17th and 18th of
November.  What we stated in these two letters, the essential point was,
that those requests came to us at a time when a comprehensive review is in
sight and that those requests have already been dealt with in the past by
UNSCOM, right from 1991 up until the present time, whether with UNSCOM,
while it was under the chairmanship of Ekeus, or whether Butler. 

And we had a schedule of work, which we worked on.  Why is it that now Mr.
Butler is requesting, all over again, the same requests that were made in
the past, which were discussed, dealt with, regulated, and settled; at a
time when we have a comprehensive review in sight?  We dealt with the
question of the biological file.  The main contention he makes is that the
Iraqi declaration on the biological file has been turned down by four
meetings of international experts as being deficient, lacking in
credibility, incapable of being verified, etc, etc, which is again not
precise and far removed from the truth.  And we detailed in the letter
exactly how the declaration of Iraq on the biological weapons progressed
from 1995 until 1998.  We put all those details before the Council. 

One of the strange requests, which Mr. Butler's letter to the president of
the Security Council deals with, is the question of archives.  Strangely
enough, he depicts Iraq as denying UNSCOM access to archives and
interprets that as being a violation of the cooperation required by the
Security Council from Iraq.  Again, I stress our responses to him, to the
two letters, cannot, by any fair-minded person, be cast in those terms,
denying access to archives.  It caught our attention that Mr.Butler is
requesting, in fact, access to all the archives of all the Iraqi state,
and he seems to think that it is he who decides what is a relevant archive
and what is an irrelevant archive for the purposes of the work of UNSCOM. 
So, we had again to deal with this question in detail, pointing out the
cold facts as they were.  Let me give you some figures, and before that
let me read to you how he put it to the Security Council. 

He stated: sight should also not be lost of the fact that Iraq has an
obligation under the resolutions of the Council to make available to the
Commission any document, which, in the Commission's view, is relevant to
its mandate.  Full access, full disclosure by Iraq would be of immense
assistance.  That is why it was asked to provide such access generically. 
But, to begin with, Iraq provided UNSCOM with documentation from 1991
onwards.  And to give you an idea, we have provided no less that 1,760
documents, comprising 8,020 pages, covering the three files, i.e.
missiles, chemical and biological, plus four video films. 

This is in addition to the documents of the Haydar farm, which we
delivered intact to UNSCOM.  These comprised 680,000 pages of documents,
as well as a large number of videos and microfilms.  But you see the
implications of this statements to the Council that Iraq is denying access
to archives.  

When Butler put it in his earlier letter and this letter,
this means, in fact, that we have to provide any requested documents,
whether they exist or otherwise.  And if a document does not exist and he
still insists that it should be provided, then who would realize that this
particular request is impossible?  If we have nothing, then how can we
give it to them?  He explains this as lack of cooperation between Iraq and
UNSCOM.  He is raising this question in particular, especially in
connection with the established facts, which are well known to UNSCOM,
that there was a unilateral destruction of documentation by Iraq in 1991
and 1992, etc. 

Why do I say it is well known to UNSCOM?  On 30 November 1993, I emphasize
30 November 1993, Ekeus at the time raised this question, and he wanted an
explanation of the story why those documents were destroyed.  In February
1994, the whole story was explained to Ambassador Ekeus in full, which
prompted him to write to us a letter on 5 February 1994, stating the
following.  This is addressed to General Amir Muhammad Rashid, when he as
director of the Military Industrialization Organization: 

I very much appreciate receiving your account of the events and the steps
taken in Iraq, which resulted in the destruction of documentation relating
to Iraq's programs proscribed by Security Council Resolution 687.  That
account is the first I have received, which describes coherently and
sequentially the considerations and actions leading to the destruction of
documentation that had survived the Gulf conflict.  I am of the
opinion-this is Ekeus-that the information you have now provided appears
comprehensive and sufficient for the purposes of the Special Commission. 

Ekeus was an executive chairman and was succeeded by Butler, and I don't
think it could rationally be acceptable that when the head of any
organization changes, then past work records of that organization are
ignored completely as if nothing had happened.  On top of that, work on
this very question of destruction of documentation, in terms of
discussions, interviews, seminars, was also taken up with UNSCOM under the
leadership of Butler.  And when we structured the schedule of work last
June, with a view to finalizing the outstanding questions, again we had
occasion to take up some aspects of this issue-not all of course, the rest
was settled from the angle of UNSCOM.  Anybody should think that, well,
the question is settled.  Yet at the present time, with the legitimate
expectation of a comprehensive review to take place, Butler comes and
requests from Iraq the total spectrum of the issues as if not work has
been done, as if no positions were adopted on it by UNSCOM, as if no work
at all has been settled. 

In our letter, we commented on what he called, in his letter to the
Security Council, precise comments and an analysis of our response. So in
this letter, we had to comment again on his comments point by point and in
detail to prove that what he was talking about has already been dealt with
and settled.  I am sure that in a very short time you will get hold of
that detailed letter and you will read it and see from the details
enclosed therein ample evidence that what Mr. Butler contends is totally

Allow me to give some concluding remarks of a general character on this
whole episode and perhaps later on I will take up questions: Mr. Butler
does not seem to be satisfied that Iraq should refer to the comprehensive
review.  Why not?  On 3 August, we had a meeting with him.  We addressed
three specific questions to him.  He declined to answer, so we adopted our
decision of 5 August, of which all are aware. 

On the next day, 6 August, the secretary general goes to the Council and
says: In order not to let the situation deteriorate, I propose that the
council should directly engage in a comprehensive review with the
government of Iraq with the objective-and he put an objective specifically
there-that when Iraq is disarmed-which in reality it already is-it must be
reinstated in the international community.  So the objective was based on
two points: Effective disarmament with the aim of lifting sanctions.  In
all the consultations that have taken place with the Council and the
secretary general and the concept paper that was presented by the
secretary general to the Security Council and the council's response to
this paper in another letter, these two points were clearly stated. 

The Security Council stated that if Iraq goes back on its decisions it
will allow the start of a comprehensive review in a short while and so
Iraq went back on its decisions.  The terminology of that particular
aspect states that Iraq-this is what the Council says in resolution
1194-must show that it is prepared to fulfill all of its obligations,
including, in particular, disarmament.  How does it demonstrate this?  By
allowing the return of full cooperation with UNSCOM and IAEA.  Well, on 14
November we said we are ready, let them come back, and we are prepared to
return to full cooperation.  They have been going about their work since
they returned. 

It is at this juncture that Butler comes and says: In order to enhance
that process and start the comprehensive review, fulfill all these
requests-which take us back to square one in 1991, otherwise he will think
that Iraq is not being cooperative and thus the Security Council must halt
all the comprehensive review of the sanctions because Iraq has gone back
on its obligations. 

In fact, we can only explain this situation in one way:  that is, Butler
wants, away from the Security Council, even to manipulate the timing and
the essence of the comprehensive review and Iraq's full co-operation with
UNSCOM, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions.  He
dictates the timing and the method.  He blamed Iraq, saying: How are you
talking about a comprehensive review and saying it actually started
without responding to my demands?  We have not said such a thing at all. 
This is the first conclusion.  The second conclusion is as follows:  You
will see through our detailed letter that these demands were responded to
in the past.  Some of those requests were dealt with in a manner
satisfactory to UNSCOM, as was mention in Ekeus' report, which I read to
you.  Why is he repeating the same demands?  Does he want to confuse the
whole operation? 

When the question of destroying documents-which was raised between us and
UNSCOM-was explained, UNSCOM said the explanation is satisfactory.  Why
does he not pursue the same policy once again instead of jumping to the
Security Council in this manner?  Is this professionalism?  Is he eager to
successfully eliminate the weapons of the world, as he mentioned in an
article in Newsweek magazine, which some of you might have read? 

If he is so professional and experienced, how could he allow himself to
attack a head of state-a sovereign state that has rights, which are
stipulated in the UN Charter and protected by Security Council
resolutions.  This arouses doubts over the reason why he took these
measures.  Why did he do that? 

If he is really professional, why did he do that when he was aware of the
fact that there are two states that decided to implement the law and
attack Iraq?  Does he have the same motivations they had or did he simply
make a mistake when he addressed the mass media on Iraq?  These
implications, which can be deduced from the latest situation, are
fundamentally important for the Security Council to consider.  If he goes
back to August the entire Iraq issue [pauses].  With UNSCOM I do not
expect any light at the end of the tunnel.  The UN secretary general said
there was to be a comprehensive review, and now look at what was or was
not achieved.  UN resolutions set the stage for a path that will take us
to the end of the tunnel.  But, as we can see, there is no light at all,
because of the latest problem provoked by Butler.  What we are seeing is
the light of a locomotive moving in our directions.  He wants to create a
situation against Iraq. 

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