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AP on new Security Council Resolution: passed with abstentions from Russia, France, China

Could the first person who finds the text for the resolution put it onto
the list please?  Thanks!

Colin Rowat

Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

393 King's College            
Cambridge CB2 1ST                       tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                                 fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984


DECEMBER 17, 13:00 EST 

U.N. Votes To Return Iraq Monitors 

Associated Press Writer 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - After a year of stalemate, the Security Council
narrowly approved a new U.N. policy for Iraq today that would restart
weapons inspections and offer to suspend sanctions if Baghdad cooperates. 

Russia, France, China and Malaysia abstained - a major blow to U.S. and
British efforts to send Baghdad a united signal that the Security Council
would stand for nothing less than full compliance with its demands. 

The resolution passed 11-0, with the four abstentions. At least nine votes
in favor were required for passage. 

Iraq has already indicated it would reject the resolution, saying it was
an American inspired attempt to impose its ``evil'' will on the Security

U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq ground to a halt a year ago, just before
U.S. and British airstrikes that were launched to punish Iraq for failing
to cooperate fully with weapons experts. 

Iraq has said inspectors from the U.N. Special Commission cannot return
and has demanded sanctions be lifted - not suspended. Under U.N.
resolutions, sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait can
only be lifted when inspectors report Iraq is free of its banned weapons. 

The resolution passed today would establish a new inspection agency for
Iraq called the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission,
or UNMOVIC, to resume overseeing the destruction of Iraq's biological and
chemical weapons, and missiles to deliver them. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency remains in charge of monitoring
Iraq's nuclear weapons program. 

The resolution offers to suspend sanctions against Iraq for renewable
120-day periods if inspectors report that Iraq has cooperated ``in all
respects'' with them and shown progress toward answering their questions
about its disarmament. 

``Today's resolution does not raise the bar on what is required of Iraq in
the area of disarmament; but it also does not lower it,'' Deputy U.S.
Ambassador Peter Burleigh told the council. 

Knowing the Iraqi position, the Russians and Chinese had wanted sanctions
to be suspended soon after Iraq allows inspectors to return, and didn't
want to require Baghdad to complete specific disarmament tasks. 

The United States and Britain pressed for Iraqi answers to outstanding
questions about its disarmament and a longer waiting period before
sanctions could be suspended. 

France said it wanted to work for more consensus, and finally said today
it would abstain. 

In the end, the resolution is intentionally vague on the specific amount
of cooperation that would be required to trigger the suspension of

With that ambiguity, today's vote marks the start of what will surely be a
lengthy and acrimonious debate on when and whether Iraq has met the
conditions for suspension. 

Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov said the real test will depend on the
composition and work of the new inspection agency and whether it can
``free itself from the harmful heritage,'' of its predecessor, the U.N.
Special Commission, which Russia says was biased. 

China's U.N. Ambassador, Qin Huasun, said he was abstaining from the vote
because there were serious questions about whether the resolution could be

``If Iraq cannot see any hope at the end of the tunnel by implementing the
resolutions, as is the case with the draft resolution, how could it be
willing and ready to offer the cooperation we hope for?'' he asked. 

Regardless the level of Iraqi cooperation with inspectors, the resolution
does allow for immediate improvements in the humanitarian situation in
Iraq by removing the $5.26 billion limit on the amount of oil Baghdad can
sell over six months through the U.N. oil-for-food program.

Iraq, however, has said it won't pump beyond the $5.26 billion ceiling - a
pledge diplomats and Arab officials say shows Iraq doesn't want to give
the appearance of accepting any element of the new resolution.

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