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Re: [casi] Question re: diplomats and Iraq-UNSCOM agreement

Dear All

Further to Brian's excellent response, the relevant extract from a letter
I wrote this morning to a UK news programme which completely missed
the point is below. My notes on the Blair dossier, which incorporate some
of this, are at:

Otherwise, the CASI website has a list of links to security council
resolutions with associated documentation at:
- see 1998 for the links to the agreements.



The 8am report said that under the existing arrangements, weapons
inspectors had no access to Presidential sites or ministries. This was
used to explain the US position that a new SCR would be necessary before
the resumption of inspections. This is clearly false: the two categories
of "presidential and sovereign sites" and "sensitive sites" were dealt
with under agreements between the UN and the Government of Iraq that
permitted inspectors access.

For the "presidential and sovereign sites", the agreement was the
Memorandum of Understanding between Kofi Annan and Tariq Aziz:
of 23 February 1998. This allowed weapons inspectors access to all sites
in Iraq, as long as they were accompanied by senior diplomats appointed by
the UN Secretary-General at eight listed Presidential sites (the procedure for
inspections is at:
and the area of the sites is defined by the UN technical mission at:

The Memorandum of Understanding was endorsed by the UN Security Council in
Resolution 1154 (2 March 1998); it was agreed to by the British government
of the time, also headed by Prime Minister Blair. The Iraqi government
seems to have fulfilled the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, and
no further delays and obstacles were reported by weapons inspectors over
these sites in the remaining period of inspections. Satisfactory
compliance from the Government of Iraq with regard to Presidential sites
was noted in the reports to the Security Council of 15 April 1998
(S/1998/326) and 6 May 1998 (S/1998/377), and was welcomed in a statement
of the President of the Security Council of 14 May 1998 (S/PRST/1998/11).

The relevant URLs are:

For the sensitive sites (the reference to "ministries" on the Today
programme, I guess), the relevant agreements were the June 1996 agreement
between Rolf Ekeus (UNSCOM chair) and Tariq Aziz, which permitted teams of
4 inspectors to a defined set of sites; and the December 1997 agreement
between Richard Butler (Ekeus' successor) and Aziz, which allowed the size
of these teams to expand for larger sites.

These agreements were carried over to Unmovic, through SCR1284 para.4.

Therefore, it's clearly inaccurate to suggest that existing arrangements
prevent inspectors' access to existing sites of this nature. One
counter-argument could be that these agreements hamstrung inspectors' work
to such an extent that they left disarmament work unviable. Attempts to
make this argument (eg: lack
plausibility to me; a possible future discussion point on the programme?

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