The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Write to the Guardian !

Sharpen your pencils ( !


UK tries to end Iraq impasse 
Bold plan offers Baghdad phased lifting of UN sanctions in return for
progress on disarmament

Iraq: special report

Richard Norton-Taylor
Saturday December 11, 1999
The Guardian

An ambitious British plan to persuade Iraq to open its doors again to
United Nations weapons inspectors in return for a pledge to lift sanctions
was at the centre of intense talks in New York last night. 

British, French, United States and Russian diplomats were engaged in what
an official called an "elaborate waltz" to reach a breakthrough, as the
security council unanimously approved a six-month extension of the
exisiting oil-for-food programme. 

This limited measure allows Iraq to sell $5.26bn (#3.3bn) worth of oil to
buy food and some medicines, as well as spend up to $300m for equipment
for its deteriorating oil industry. It is required to place 30% of its oil
revenues in a compensation fund for Kuwaiti war victims, and to pay for UN
costs in Iraq. 

But far more significant and far more difficult to reach agreement on is
Britain's proposal for dropping other economic and trade sanctions in
return for Iraq agreeing to full access to UN arms inspectors. 

Under the plan, a new disarmanent body, the UN monitoring, verification
and inspection commission (Unmovic), would replace the former UN special
commission (Unscom), which collapsed after American and British air
strikes on Iraq in operation Desert Fox a year ago, and amid allegations
that Washington had used a UN agency to spy on Baghdad. 

Within 60 days Unmovic would draw up a timetable and a list of demands
relating to Iraq's potential to manufacture nuclear, chemical, and
biological weapons and ballistic missiles. 

Once the UN security council agreed to a mandate for the new weapons
inspection team, the cap on Iraqi oil exports would be lifted and
procedures allowing Baghdad to import food, medicine and agricultural
equipment would be streamlined. 

The most contentious issue is the trigger that would lift sanctions.
Britain's ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, has proposed a
series of "stepping stone" reviews that would eventually lead to lifting
the sanctions imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. 

Britain is demanding strict conditions, with Baghdad first having to
"cooperate fully" with the Unmovic inspectors. Even then sanctions would
be suspended only for a limited period. Further reviews, UN resolutions
and security council votes would be needed until agreement that Iraq had
"fully complied" with the inspectors' demands. 

Russia, backed by China, wants more detailed criteria that, when met,
would automatically lead to the lifting of sanctions. It insists that the
security council should specify in advance what Baghdad should do. 

France's position seemed unclear last night, though Alain Dejammet, the
French ambasador to the UN, on Thursday expressed sympathy for Russia's

Also in dispute is whether a security council vote would be needed to
continue the sanctions, or suspend or end them. 

Britain is prepared to pursue the talks until early next week in its
attempt to get a unanimous resolution. 

) Copyright Guardian Media Group plc. 1999 

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]