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Following are two articles on recent Security Council developments: 1) from today's Washington Post front page, and 2) from the Middle East Times (Nov.12, 1999). --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-11/16/142l-111699-idx.html U.N. Nears Pact on Iraq Inspections Security Council May Ease Sanctions By John Lancaster and Colum Lynch Washington Post Staff Writers Tuesday, November 16, 1999; Page A01 Nearly a year after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ejected international arms inspectors from his country, members of the U.N. Security Council are nearing agreement on a resolution that could lead to the resumption of inspections aimed at preventing Baghdad from acquiring illegal weapons, U.S. and allied officials said yesterday. The Clinton administration has been trying for months to find a formula under which Saddam Hussein would allow the inspectors to return to Iraq. If the Iraqis cooperate with the inspectors, the Security Council then would suspend the nine-year-old trade sanctions that have shattered the Iraqi economy and barred the country from using its oil revenue to purchase anything other than food and humanitarian supplies. Russia and France had pushed competing proposals that would be more lenient in interpreting Iraq's disarmament obligations under the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War. As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council--along with the United States, Britain and China--Russia and France have the power to veto any plan that is not to their liking. After concessions from the United States, however, France in recent weeks has signaled its willingness to accept the American-backed proposal. Originally floated by Britain and the Netherlands, the plan envisions suspending--but not lifting--sanctions after an unspecified period of Iraqi compliance. The Security Council would have to vote to continue the suspension every 100 days, so the United States would be able to reimpose sanctions unilaterally by vetoing a continued suspension. U.S. officials say they expect Russia to follow France's lead rather than risk being isolated on the council. China, which has not played a major role in the discussions, traditionally has followed Russia's guidance on matters relating to Iraq. "We've broken through the shell," said a senior State Department official in discussing the negotiations, which resume today in New York among the five permanent council members. The official acknowledged, however, that success is not yet assured. Nor is it clear that the resolution would be accepted by Saddam Hussein, who thus far has refused to allow the resumption of U.N. weapons inspections. U.S. officials say that the Iraqi leader has a pattern of reversing course when confronted with unanimity on the Security Council. Given the alternative--continued sanctions with no hope of reprieve--he is likely to do the same in this case, they believe. Until last fall, Iraq had been subject to inspections and monitoring by the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, which was charged with rooting out and destroying Iraq's programs to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Saddam Hussein's decision to expel the inspectors followed a series of confrontations over giving them access to sensitive government sites and led to several days of U.S. cruise missile attacks. Under the so-called Anglo-Dutch proposal favored by the Clinton administration, Iraq would have to permit the return of an inspection team and demonstrate its willingness to disarm before sanctions could be suspended. Russia, by contrast, had argued for a far more lenient standard that essentially would have suspended the sanctions as soon as inspections resumed. In either case, Iraqi oil revenue would remain under U.N. control and could not be used to purchase military or "dual-use" equipment that might have military as well as civilian purposes. Iraq would, however, be able to use its oil revenue for civilian imports, subject to U.N. approval. U.S. officials say the plan satisfies the key American objectives of maintaining outside control over Iraqi oil revenue, restoring the inspection program and providing for the humanitarian needs of Iraq's civilians--a matter of enormous concern among Washington's allies in the Arab world. "The outcome potentially before us would do those things in a way that meets our national interest," the senior official said. A breakthrough on a Security Council resolution also would advance the U.S. goal of patching up the faltering international coalition that forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait in the Gulf War. The evolving French position was ascribed by State Department officials to growing anxiety in Paris about Iraq's potential to resume its outlawed weapons programs. But diplomats involved in the negotiations also said the United States and Britain offered significant concessions to win French and Russian support. The current version of the resolution, for example, would permit foreign companies--meaning French and Russian companies--to invest in the Iraqi oil sector. It also would lift the cap on Iraqi oil production, currently set at $5.2 billion for six months. "We could look at lifting the oil ceiling as long as we don't give Saddam Hussein free rein over the money," said one diplomat involved in the discussions. "That satisfies the likes of the French and the Russians because they can say to the Iraqis, 'Look, we've won this.' " © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company --- http://metimes.com/issue99-46/opin/new_un_plan.htm New UN plan ignores Iraq Special to the Middle East Times The permanent members of the UN Security Council are forging ahead on a resolution to temporarily suspend sanctions in exchange for Iraqi compliance with weapons inspections despite Iraq's outright rejection of the plan. Against a backdrop of criticism by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the US was holding up the import of $500 million of humanitarian aid and calls for an end to sanctions by the UN humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad, negotiations on Iraq resumed at UN headquarters last week. Watching from the sidelines, the Iraqi government denounced the latest discussions by ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council who gathered in New York November 5. "The tricks which are being made there are not acceptable," said Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz. "There is no change in the proposals which are being made and we are standing firm against these maneuvers... they are not going to reach a reasonable conclusion to the Iraqi peoples' tragedy," Aziz added. His comments came during last week's visit of British MP George Galloway to Baghdad to raise support for a termination of sanctions. In recent months, there have been several proposals put forward on how to alleviate sanctions while getting Iraq to allow UN inspectors to resume weapons monitoring. However, critics argue that the United States isn't interested in seeing the sanctions lifted until Saddam Hussein is toppled and so the current talks are little more than smoke screen. Muhammad Said Al Sayed, deputy director of the government-backed Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies, says that the US continues to see Iraq as a threat and will continue its harsh treatment of the country unless there is a change in leadership. "It is clear the US will torpedo any lifting of sanctions and that the US' containment policy will continue until Saddam Hussein is toppled," Sayed said. This conclusion falls in line with US Vice-President and presidential candidate Al Gore's recent statements last week to the annual Arab-American Institute's National Leadership conference. Speaking via satellite hook-up, Gore said the United States wanted friendly relations with Iraq "as soon as Iraq has a government worthy of its people." Due to the American and British hard-line stance against Saddam Hussein and his government, negotiations at the Security Council continue at a snail's pace and with little concrete progress. A new British draft has been at the center of the latest talks. The details of the proposal are still being hammered out, but it is likely the draft draws on a previous proposal supported by the US and Britain. That proposal would have raised the ceiling for the oil-for-food program, currently at $5.26 billion, once a new arms inspection team is set up. A suspension of import and export sanctions would have been lifted following Iraq's cooperation in answering several key questions on its weapons of mass destruction to be posed by the chief arms inspector. The suspension of the sanctions would have to be renewed at periodic intervals by the Security Council. No consensus has been reached on the plan, with the main sticking points centering around Iraq's degree of compliance with weapons inspections and the speed and extent of the easing of sanctions. Russia has called for an immediate and indefinite suspension of sanctions once an inspection agency is in place. China appears to be supportive of this plan. At previous talks in September, the British and Dutch proposed a suspension of the embargo on exports only for a renewable period of 120 days once Baghdad allows arms inspections. France had suggested a 100-day renewable suspension on all sanctions if arms inspectors were allowed into the country while maintaining strict control on Iraq's finances. In recent weeks, however, France has shifted its support to the current US and British position. Baghdad has rejected all of the proposals. "They are saying they might suspend sanctions but Iraq has to accept a long list of new conditions," Foreign Minister Muhammad Said Al Sahaf told reporters in Geneva. Iraq's official newspaper Al Thawra denounced Iraq's lack of involvement on the proposals and concluded that the resolution will have little affect. "During the past months when the draft resolution was being discussed, it escaped the mind of the Council to invite an Iraqi official to consult or be informed of what is going on," it said in an editorial. Despite Iraq's unwavering opposition to the proposals, US envoy Richard Holbrooke expressed optimism at the current pace of progress. He said the Security Council was "close to a solution" and said Washington was determined to make sure that "Saddam cannot get the sanctions permanently suspended through various devices and tricks." Britain's ambassador to the UN was a bit more cautious in his assessment of the negotiations and said the lack of agreement on how to deal with Iraq may result in failure. "We may fail in the end to get a resolution but I think we are now on track to have a very serious go at it. This was a preparatory meeting to keep the process going," he said after the talks. Amira Elghawaby -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***