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Re: SC 687

The ambiguities inherent in Resolution 687 have been the cause of major
divisions in the Security Council as to the conditions for the lifting
of sanctions. The following analysis is taken from a new book by Sarah
Graham-Brown, 'Sanctioning Saddam: The Politics of Intervention in Iraq'
(1999, I.B. Tauris in association with MERIP, ISBN: 1 86064 473 2), pp


        "Divergent views were expressed on whether paragraphs 21 and 22
of Resolution 687 could be implemented separately. Paragraph 22
specifies that the embargo on imports from Iraq - primarily oil - and
related financial transactions 'shall have no further force or effect'
once Iraq has complied with the requirements in the resolution relating
to the destruction and monitoring of its weapons of mass destruction and
related manufacturing capacity, and the establishment of the UN
Compensation Fund.
        "Paragraph 22 appears to stand alone, in that it does not
suggest that the lifting of the oil export ban depends on compliance
with any part of the resolution other than those paragraphs relating to
weapons of mass destruction. Russia and France accepted this
interpretation. In the Russian view, 'As soon as the chairman of UNSCOM
reports favourably, then paragraph 22 is engaged, allowing oil sales
without limits'.
        "The French Government argued that sanctions had three main
goals in order to restore regional peace and stability: that Iraq pose
no threat to its neighbours; the destruction of weapons of mass
destruction and imposition of a monitoring system; and respect for
Kuwait's border and its sovereignty. Once these were complied with,
Chapter 22 of Resolution 687 could be regarded as implemented.
        "The instruments framed in 1991 had not been intended for an
extended shelf life, and did not necessarily suit the purposes of all
the key players over the longer term. Discussions on the US role in
formulating Resolution 687 in 1991 indicate that, when it was framed,
there was still a belief that Saddam Hussein would either show
willingness to comply or that he would be overthrown. At that time it
was apparently argued that there should be an incentive to comply - the
possibility that the most onerous part of the embargo, the ban on oil
exports, would be lifted - if the key parts of the resolution were
        "By 1994, this interpretation of the resolution did not sit well
with US strategy on Iraq, The US and UK adamantly opposed any 'staged'
lifting of sanctions. They believed sanctions should remain in place
until 'all relevant resolutions' were complied with, choosing to ignore
or play down the separate requirements of Paragraph 22.
        "These states chose to emphasise Paragraph 21 of Resolution 687
which deals with the terms for lifting the embargo on exports to Iraq. A
decision to 'reduce or lift' the prohibition is dependent on the 60-day
review 'in the light of the policies and practices of the Government of
Iraq, including the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the UN
Security Council'. Two phrases are ambiguous and open to different
interpretations: first, the 'policies and practices' of the Iraqi
Government; and second, the question of which resolutions are
'relevant'. The French, for example, contended that Iraq could only be
expected to comply with Chapter VII Resolutions, which in their view
excluded Resolution 688. The formal status of this resolution [688] -
whether it could be considered mandatory - has never been clarified."

[Harriet's Note: Resolution 688 (1991) 'demanded'  that the Iraqi
government immediately end the repression of the civilian population and
'insisted' that Iraq co-operate with humanitarian organisations and
ensured that the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens were

        "The US and UK nonetheless insisted that Resolution 688 should
be taken into account in the reviews because it had a bearing on the
'policies and practices' of the Iraqi Government. These governments
further argued 'that as long as Iraq continues its flagrant disregard of
its other obligations under Council resolutions and international law,
the Government cannot be trusted to comply in good faith with the
weapons monitoring mechanism'.
        "Once Iraq had accepted Resolution 715 and UNSCOM had installed
its monitoring system, France, Russia and China appeared to believe that
if the six-month test period for the monitors was successful, full
compliance on weapons of mass destruction could be achieved sometime in
1995. This would be followed by the lifting of the oil embargo.
        "One other key issue remained: Iraq's acceptance of Kuwaiti
sovereignty and the Iraq-Kuwait boundary as defined by the UN Boundary
Demarcation Commission...."


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