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---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 09:42:20 EST From: GUSTNancy@aol.com This recent news conference provides useful background for those concerned about the current conflict over documents requested by UNSCOM. I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED A FEW PARAGRAPHS HALFWAY THROUGH WHICH SEEM PARTICULARLY RELEVANT. . . . firstname.lastname@example.org ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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 [local]. 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. <THE FOLLOWING SECTION DEALS WITH A 1994 LETTER OF APPROVAL FROM UNSCOM> 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. <NOTE THE PRECEDING SENTENCE> 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 unwarranted. 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html