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News, 11-18/10/02 (4) 'UNITED NATIONS' SECURITY COUNCIL * Putin demands proof over Iraqi weapons * Saddam Could Revoke Access * New Iraqi letter vows to ease inspection hurdles * Palaces flashpoint in war of nerves * Bush Corleone: "Saddam Hussein sleeps with the fishes" * Iraq Did Not OK All Inspection Rules - UN's Blix * Congress puts UN in the dock: Bush's Iraq obsession * Non-Aligned Countries Urge UN to Refrain From Using Force Against Iraq LEGITIMATE MEANS OF SELF DEFENCE * Co-chair of Belarus-Iraq trade commission replaced * Iraq seeks chemical for arms * 'Radar sale to Iraq' inquiry opens * Ukraine Sites Checked in Iraq Probe * Friends Can Bust Sanctions 'UNITED NATIONS' SECURITY COUNCIL http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,810627,00.html * PUTIN DEMANDS PROOF OVER IRAQI WEAPONS by Michael White in Zavidovo The Guardian, 12th October Vladimir Putin yesterday rejected Anglo-American claims that Saddam Hussein already possesses weapons of mass destruction and told Tony Blair that the best way to resolve the conflict of evidence is not war, but the return of UN inspectors to Iraq. With a tense Mr Blair alongside him at his dacha near Moscow, the Russian president took the unusual step of citing this week's sceptical CIA report on the Iraqi military threat to assert: "Fears are one thing, hard facts are another". At a press conference, during a break in the talks, Mr Putin - praised by his guest for his "courageous" leadership - repeatedly stressed his concerns about Iraq and his willingness to back fresh UN resolutions if necessary. Mr Blair took comfort from that. But his scepticism about the US-led drive for military action was palpable. After confirming his foreign ministry's assessment that No 10's Iraqi dossier "could be seen as a propagandistic step" to sway public opinion, he made it plain. "Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet. This fact has also been supported by the information sent by the CIA to the US Congress." Evidently anxious to please his host and reinforce the international coalition the prime minister emphasised the importance of taking Russia's economic and diplomatic interests seriously "at the top table". "There may be a difference of perspective about weapons of mass destruction, there is one certain way to find out and that is to let the inspectors back in to do their job. That is the key point on which we are both agreed," Mr Blair said. Mr Putin concurred. But he showed sensitivity to any suggestion that Russia's economic contracts with Iraq - and its dependence on oil prices staying high - made the country's position different from other states. "I have invited the prime minister here to discuss a range of issues, I have not invited him to an oriental bazaar," he said. British officials accompanying Mr Blair gratefully seized on Mr Putin's apparent acceptance of eventual need for a new UN resolution if President Saddam repeats his past obstruction. But amid poor official interpretation of the president's remarks, even that concession was disputed, though No 10 later quoted Mr Putin as telling the prime minister that he "hoped the journalists understood" the importance of his admission that a new resolution may be required. Mr Putin also appeared to be leaving himself room for manoeuvre in the weeks ahead. "We have apprehensions that such weapons might exist in Iraq. That is why we want to see the inspectors travel there." In his remarks Mr Blair, very much the bridge between the hawks in Washington and wider global scepticism, again said that "conflict is not inevitable" but that the international community must give a "strong and clear signal" to Baghdad to comply with its demands. Given the overall tone of the president's remarks and the scepticism of three of the security council's permanent five members it was not clear why British officials are optimistic that the Russian obstacle has now been cleared at the UN. The two leaders and their wives spent the night at the presidential hunting lodge north of the capital, a return trip after the Putins stayed at Chequers. After a dinner that included caviar and assorted game and fish they drove around the estate in search of wildlife and saw a boar. No animals were killed, Russian reporters were assured. The talks which began on Thursday night ranged across global problems, including the Israel Palestine and India-Pakistan conflicts, and growing bilateral trade between Britain and Russia. Mr Blair called Mr Putin "a critical partner for ourselves and the whole of the western world." http://www.sltrib.com/10132002/nation_w/6782.htm * SADDAM COULD REVOKE ACCESS by Ellen Knickmeyer Salt Lake Tribune (from AP), 13th October BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq reserves the right to end cooperation with U.N. weapons inspections if it deems Washington is manipulating them, the Iraqi inspections chief said, clouding prospects of the high-stakes U.N. missions before they even resume. The Iraqi warning by inspections chief Gen. Hussan Mohammed Amin -- made in the face of threatened U.S. military action -- raises the possibility that old problems would haunt any new U.N. inspections to ensure Iraq can no longer produce weapons of mass destruction. In a letter Saturday, Iraq promised to behave "professionally" if U.N. weapons inspectors return to the country and gain access to Saddam Hussein's palaces and other suspect sites. In the letter, sent to the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Saddam adviser Gen. Amir al-Sadi said Iraq sees no obstacles to a resumption of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said. That letter came a day after another letter from al-Sadi, this time to U.N. weapons inspectors, appeared to ignore details of agreements hammered out with the inspectors on their eventual return. In Washington, the State Department expressed skepticism at the latest letter. "Iraq continues to want to play word games, not comply. They will continue to make contradictory promises, and then choose the version of most tactical benefit at any given moment," spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said Saturday. Meanwhile, Iraq's parliament met in an emergency session Saturday, but said nothing about a resolution by the U.S. Congress giving President Bush authority to use force against Iraq. Instead, Iraq lawmakers condemned a resolution by Congress that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Charges of Iraqi deception, and U.S. double-dealing, have dogged the inspections -- inaugurated in 1991 with volleys of Iraqi bullets over the heads of newly arrived inspectors, and ended in 1998 with punishing U.S.-British airstrikes the night thwarted inspectors finally withdrew. Trying to stave off a new U.S. attack over what Washington says are covert weapon programs, Iraq has dropped objections to inspectors' return, and says it hopes to see an advance team back as soon as Oct. 19. Asked if Iraq reserves the right to again revoke cooperation with inspectors, Baghdad's inspections chief Amin said: "Of course." "We gave commitments to cooperate, if they said they will follow scientific and logical measures for inspections, and will not misuse them for spying, collecting information," Amin said, speaking inside a walled industrial complex where Washington asserts nuclear weapons work could be under way. If they will follow scientific measures, and they will take measures from the United Nations and not the United States, they should come on the date," he said. The Bush administration said that Iraq has never complied with inspectors. "The world is done playing the Iraqi game of denial, deception and obfuscation. The Security Council needs to act to pass an effective new resolution that leads to Iraqi disarmament," an administration official said. Iraqi Islamic leaders appealed to the Muslim world Saturday to come to their aid if the U.S. attacks. "Take the word of Iraq, which already has lost so much flesh and blood to this country: If no one stops it, it will destroy the whole world!" Iraq's Popular Islamic Conference said in a religious edict signed by 500 clerics of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority and Sunni minority. In the United Nations, Iraq's ambassador said in an interview that Saddam has changed since he lost the Gulf War 11 years ago and his country is now doing everything it can now to avert another conflict. Mohammed al-Douri said the Iraqi leadership had changed its policies and tactics since it fought Iran in the 1980s, used chemical weapons against its Kurdish minority, invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990 and lobbed scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia during the ensuing Gulf War. "We think of how we can improve relationships, even with the United States," al-Douri said. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/286/nation/New_Iraqi_letter_vows_to_ease_i nspection_hurdles+.shtml * NEW IRAQI LETTER VOWS TO EASE INSPECTION HURDLES by Elizabeth Neuffer Boston Globe, 13th October UNITED NATIONS - An adviser to President Saddam Hussein sent his second letter in a week to UN weapons inspectors yesterday, saying Iraq, as promised, was ready to remove all obstacles to a return of inspectors after a break of almost four years. "We assert our complete readiness once again to receive the advance team on Oct. 19 as per our preliminary agreement with you and our readiness to resolve all issues that may block the road to our joint cooperation," wrote the adviser, General Amir al-Saadi. The letter followed one sent late last week to the chief UN inspector, Hans Blix, and to Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, which US officials said they found evasive. In the earlier correspondence, the Iraqis were answering a letter by the two weapons experts stating what they believed both sides had agreed to during Vienna talks for forthcoming weapons inspections. The latest letter was sent as Washington, following Thursday's congressional authorization of force if needed, prepares to push for a new, tough UN resolution. The letter noted the desire for "unfettered access" to eight Iraqi presidential palace sites - a key demand of the Bush administration. But it made no specific concession on the issue. The United States said the letter did not go far enough. "The Iraqis still don't say yes to inspections," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations. "Their response should be one word: Yes." In the letter on Thursday, Iraqi officials insisted that any search for weapons of mass destruction must take place under existing UN resolutions. The new dispatch appeared aimed at ensuring that inspectors hold to an arrival date for an advance team of Oct. 19, even if the UN Security Council resolution is not passed in time. Iraq wants weapons inspections to be conducted under existing resolutions, which grant it more flexibility than the new, tough resolution being negotiated among UN Security Council members. Baghdad's hope is that once members of any inspection team are in Iraq, even if they are just part of a logistics team, the Security Council will find it difficult to change existing resolutions. Blix and El Baradei, however, have indicated that they are unwilling to send a team now, given that the Security Council appears to agree that a new UN resolution is needed, even though it remains divided over its terms. The latest Iraqi letter seemed to be an attempt to portray Baghdad as sticking to its agreement to allow inspectors to return - a move apparently aimed at bolstering its position among those doubtful of the US hard line. Further complicating matters, the Associated Press quoted the Iraqi inspections chief, General Hussan Mohammed Amin, as saying yesterday that the country reserves the right to end cooperation with weapons inspectors if it deems that Washington is manipulating them. "We gave commitments to cooperate, if they said they will follow scientific and logical measures for inspections, and will not misuse them for spying," Amin was quoted as saying. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/10/13/1034222682605.html * PALACES FLASHPOINT IN WAR OF NERVES by Paul McGeough Sydney Morning Herald, 14th October They always drive past or fly around. Iraqi officials seeking to disprove Western claims of extensive nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs have taken to carting foreign journalists around Baghdad, but they never stop at the palaces that are the flashpoint in the war of nerves with Washington. As President George Bush or his lieutenants name each new target, we are taken to see factories and workshops that the Iraqis occasionally admit were a part of illicit weapons projects, but which they insist have become legitimate, state-run enterprises. Contradictory statements by senior Iraqi officials at the weekend on UN weapons inspectors' access to the palaces created the latest in a series of tripwires that threaten diplomatic efforts to impose a last round of inspections between the stalemate and a war. The Iraqi Vice-President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, told the German magazine Der Spiegel that inspectors would be allowed to visit eight contentious palaces that Mr Bush claims could be the cover for secret weapons projects. At the same time, the Iraqis seemed to be backing away from an agreement with the UN on how the next round of inspections might be conducted and the Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, adopted a new tone of defiance when he told Iraqi reporters: "America is the one challenging us; we are not the ones challenging America." Saturday's outing for the foreign press in Baghdad was to Al Furat, a plant on the outskirts of the city that the US suspects produces gas centrifuges, which are essential for enriching uranium. But Lieutenant-General Abbas Saadi, the plant's director general, insisted that the heavily fortified factory was nothing more than a centre for radar and communications research and development. The anti-aircraft batteries were "normal", he said. The visit was chaotic. There were no nuclear physicists among more than 200 journalists who descended on the plant and there was insufficient time to visit most of the buildings in the complex. None of us came away with evidence of a nuclear project. The UN weapons inspectors have become fixated on the palaces, a presidential indulgence estimated to be worth more than $US2 billion ($3.6 billion) because they are huge, rambling compounds that the Iraqis guard with a sensitivity that borders on paranoia. The revolving restaurant at the top of Saddam Tower on the west bank of the Tigris is a perfect place to view one of the grandest of Saddam's compounds. The Guest Palace, which has a huge bronze bust of the president at each corner of its astro-turf roof gardens, has 15 three-storey guard houses on its pre-cast concrete perimeter wall. The palace itself is a three-storey mansion surrounded by luxuriant gardens of date palms and gum trees among which are interspersed manicured formal gardens and a magnificent network of ornamental lakes. The inspectors are desperate to get into more than 50 such palaces, which they say have been renovated and expanded since the UN teams left Iraq in 1998. But they also want access to the 30 buildings in the palace grounds and to more than 1000 buildings that they say are within the compounds of the eight key palaces on their list. Few Westerners get inside the palaces, said to be glittering confections of marble and chandeliers, with luxurious fittings that range from golden bathrooms to canopied beds, swimming pools, shooting galleries and hunting grounds. There are galleries of Saddam kitsch in which, defectors claim, the Iraqi leader has built some of his most secret weapons research laboratories, gourmet kitchens and torture chambers. Top of the inspectors' list is Radwaniyah Palace. It has more than 350 buildings, four of which are described as presidential residences and more than 225 of which are listed in UN documents as VIP villas, offices, warehouses, and security housing. Next is Saddam's huge bunker at Tikrit, his home town about 160 kilometres north of Baghdad. And there is the new Baghdad Al Salam Palace, built where the Republican Guard headquarters stood until it was destroyed during the Gulf War. A UN attempt to inspect one of the palaces descended into farce in 1998 when a small team of inspectors became a 73-vehicle convoy as diplomatic and Iraqi observers joined in. Hans Blix, the head of the new UN inspection office, said his men were ready to return to Baghdad. But the US pressured him to hold off until it took its case for a tougher inspection regime to the UN Security Council. It is likely that the weekend rope-a-dope by Iraq is a diplomatic payback for Dr Blix's decision to go along with Mr Bush. And what are the inspectors likely to find? They are unlikely to uncover any weapons related work. It seems the US insistence on getting into the palaces is as much about sullying symbols of the regime as it is about denying Saddam his weapons of mass destruction. http://www.iraqjournal.org/journals/021015.html * BUSH CORLEONE: "SADDAM HUSSEIN SLEEPS WITH THE FISHES" by Jeremy Scahill Iraq Journal, 15th October BAGHDAD‹Don Corleone once ordered his emissary to make someone an offer he couldn¹t refuse. Later this week George W Bush is going to push ahead with a UN Security Council resolution Saddam Hussein couldn¹t possibly accept. And what¹s becoming abundantly clear is that that¹s precisely the point. What¹s unfolding now is so cliche that it shouldn¹t even be necessary to spell it out. At the end of the day, Saddam Hussein is going to reject peace. He will reject diplomacy. He will invite upon ³his own people² a massive US attack and possible ground invasion. He will once again spit in the face of the ³international community² that Bush has recently discovered (you know the insignificant folks that make up that soon to be debating society). >From his prison cell at the Hague, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must be feeling Saddam¹s pain. He knows what it¹s like to reject America¹s peace pipe. When Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright and company decided it was time to attack Yugoslavia in 1999, they gave Milosevic one last chance. At the talks at Rambouilet prior to the 78-day bombing, Yugoslavia was presented with a document that read like an occupation agreement. It said that NATO troops could deploy in Serbia and, along with their planes and vessels, would enjoy ³free and unrestricted access throughout all of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,² and not just Kosovo. It said that NATO troops would be immune from prosecution for crimes committed during their presence in the country. But back then, when it came time for ³good reporters² to do their duty, they told it like it was: Milosevic had rejected peace. Fast forward to this week. Iraq is facing the possibility of a US-forced security council resolution that says that if weapons inspectors return, the ³teams shall be accompanied at their bases by sufficient UN security forces to protect them, shall have the right to declare for the purpose of this resolution no-fly/no-drive zones, exclusion zones, and/or ground and air transit corridors, (which shall be enforced by UN security forces or by member states;) shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of fixed and rotary winged aircraft, including unmanned reconnaissance vehiclesŠ² Recent reports in the press have indicated that the Bush administration is developing plans to impose a military governor on Iraq. This resolution would certainly hurl the country in that direction. General Tommy Franks is probably trying on the UN fatigues as you read this. The resolution then ³Decides further that Iraq shall immediately cease, and shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United NationsŠ² >From reading this, one would think that peacekeepers are being gunned down in Iraq, taken for ransom‹that UN buildings are being stormed by the natives and firebombed. But in the 11 years since the Gulf War ended, Bush‹or for that matter anyone‹would be hard pressed to name an incident in which any UN personnel came under attack from the Iraqis, including the time in 1998 when Baghdad uncovered that the US had infiltrated the weapons inspections regime with CIA spies. These days most UN officials here, while deriding the infamous Iraqi bureaucracy, speak of deep collaboration with the government in attempting to deal with the devastating impact of the US-led sanctions. Of course, no resolution put forth by the Bush administration would be complete if it didn¹t include that well-known bedrock of international law‹using UN resolutions to conduct espionage. The remarkable thing about this resolution is that Washington is actually spelling it out in the draft: ³Šany permanent member of the Security Council [i.e. America, i.e. the Pentagon, i.e. the CIA] may request to be represented on any inspection team with the same rights and protections accorded other members of the team, shall have unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including unrestricted access to presidential sitesŠ² And then there is the issue of interviewing any Iraqi the US, pardon me, the UN sees fit. A shrewd Iraqi friend, who was educated in the US and trained as an engineer often says: ³I could have a great life abroad. All I would have to do is Œescape¹ to Europe and claim to be a former technician on Iraq¹s covert weapons program.² Parts of the US draft resolution read like a premeditated kidnap doctrine. It mandates ³immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and private access to all officials and other persons,² saying that the inspectors may ³at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of IraqŠ² It doesn¹t mention in the draft resolution whether those individuals or their families would have any choice in the matter. Call it forced defection. The inner circle in Iraq seems to be resolved to the idea that a massive attack is a fait accompli and that this resolution could well be the highly choreographed trigger. This resolution will ultimately constitute a sprawling text of fine print that most journalists won¹t bother to read and most newspapers won¹t bother to print. What matters is that it will be Saddam who has rejected peace. Bush and his cronies need not worry about any uproar from the media on this one. They know very well that you don¹t need to read the manual of a product you know quite well how to use. (Jeremy Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen are coordinating Iraqjournal.org, the only website providing regular independent reporting from the ground in Baghdad.) http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20021015_509.html * IRAQ DID NOT OK ALL INSPECTION RULES - UN'S BLIX by Evelyn Leopold ABC News, 15th October UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix acknowledged on Tuesday that Iraq had not agreed to all ground rules for arms inspections but reiterated he would not go to Baghdad before a new U.N. resolution was adopted. While Iraq had agreed to most practical arrangements for inspections, it had not responded to conducting interviews with scientists and others without escorts, Blix told the U.N. Security Council, according to his briefing notes. He also noted that Iraq had not replied to U.N. demands for using U-2 spy planes, flying helicopters over Baghdad and setting up cost-free regional offices in Mosul in the north and Basra in the south. Blix was addressing the 15-nation council on two letters from Iraq last week on practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors, out of the country since December 1998. "What we are now waiting for is not really so much for further clarifications (from Iraq), which would be nice to have, but rather a new resolution from the Security Council," Blix said after the briefing. "We have waited now for nearly four years so we have to have a little patience," he said. Blix said his timeline for advance teams would be about 10 days after the resolution was adopted. But a U.S.-drafted measure, which is still facing strong opposition among key council members, has provisions that might mean a 30-day wait. At issue in the council briefing was a letter Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote to Iraq about their understandings on how inspections would be conducted following meetings with Baghdad arms officials in Vienna two weeks ago. Iraq replied in two letters, which Blix said covered most but not all of the points raised in Vienna. He also made clear neither he nor the council would reply to Baghdad. "It would have been simpler for everybody if they had affirmed what was in our letter," Blix told reporters. But he did not respond with the same outrage at the letters as the United States did last week, and explained to the council where Baghdad had agreed with him. On the subject of interviews, Blix had said inspectors could choose the "mode and location" for talks with Iraqi scientists and other government officials. Instead, a letter, from Gen. Amir al-Saadi, an Iraqi presidential adviser, said inspectors had to ensure the right of its citizens "under the law." Blix said his teams could not force any Iraqi citizen to submit to an interview but he wanted Iraq to say it would "not demand to have an observer present at any interview." The United States wants the inspectors to be able to interview scientists and others out of the country. Senior Pentagon civilian officials routinely dismiss the effectiveness of U.N. inspections, saying they can do little to uncover Iraq's efforts to hide chemical or biological arms. At the same time, Blix has told other council members as well as U.S. officials he is reluctant to field teams under some proposals Washington has offered. They include allowing key council members to join inspections and choose the sites and using troops to clear any roadways Iraq might block for inspections. http://www.dawn.com/2002/10/15/int9.htm * CONGRESS PUTS UN IN THE DOCK: BUSH'S IRAQ OBSESSION by Karen DeYoung & Walter Pincus Dawn (from The Washington Post ), 15th October [.....] "The ability to have our own people on inspections teams, and not just a bunch of UN bureaucrats" is not open to discussion, said a senior administration official closely involved in Iraq planning. Disdain for the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) is high in the Pentagon, where senior officials routinely dismiss UNMOVIC chief Hans Blix, who has objected to this and several other provisions in the resolution, as living in a fantasyland where a few dozen inspectors can counter Iraq's efforts to hide chemical and biological weaponry. Blix's concern, which was echoed in an interview with Rolf Ekeus, the first head of the UN inspection team in Iraq, is that if the United States and other permanent council members put their people on inspection teams, the UN team leader would lose control. "Suppose the US member wants to go behind one door in a building and the French member doesn't, what happens?" Ekeus said in a recent interview. "That plan is unworkable." "It is fair to say that one reason why we're insisting so hard that they not water (the resolution) down is that UNMOVIC cannot go through the hide and seek game that UNSCOM went through," a senior Defence official said. That was a reference to the first Iraq weapons inspection organization that gave up in 1998 after more than six years of battling Iraqi concealment and Saddam's final refusal to allow them to continue. Some of this disdain is transferred to Powell, whose UN efforts are seen by some advocates of US military action as a placeholder while the Pentagon gets its forces up to invasion strength. Their views are returned in kind by some in the State Department, who suggest refusal to compromise on "expendable" parts of the resolution is motivated by a desire to see the UN and inspections fail so an invasion can begin. As the Security Council debate begins in earnest this week, a number of US friends and allies professed confusion and concern about a US policy dispute they thought was settled by Bush's decision to take his case against Iraq to the United Nations. Since Bush's UN speech on Sept 12, said a diplomat from one council member, the administration has had two Iraq policies, "one for New York, and one for Washington." He said even his government, a close US ally, is still unsure which one is Bush's. Others say they wonder if Bush was ever serious about the UN "We all want Washington to stay on the UN line, and having gotten us all fired up, not walk away," said another council diplomat. While Powell and his aides have stressed that the UN must be prepared to take multinational military action if Iraq defies new inspection rules, their negotiating emphasis has been on the importance of the multinational inspections effort and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. There has been unspoken acknowledgment that, in the unlikely event Saddam cooperates fully, he will be allowed to stay in power. Away from the United Nations, in news conferences, speeches and testimony designed to promote public and Congressional support, Rumsfeld and others have stressed Iraqi links with Al Qaeda and the potential for attacks on the United States that would be far worse than Sept 11. Even if the Security Council agreed to a tough resolution, and even if Iraq cooperated, several officials have said that is only one step toward Saddam's ouster. In the unlikely event that Saddam complied with UN resolutions, Zalmay Khalilzad, who handles Iraq on the White House National Security Council staff told a group of Middle East specialists here, force might not be required in the "near term." But "we would still pursue regime change and liberation." http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=10/17/02&Cat=2&Num=14 * NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES URGE UN TO REFRAIN FROM USING FORCE AGAINST IRAQ Tehran Times, 17th October [.....] Before the debate began, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a message to the council urging it to unite behind a new resolution strengthening the hand of the weapons inspectors. But he stopped short of endorsing military action. Annan was on a 12-day tour of Asia. His statement was delivered by Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette. Iraq's 11-year defiance of council resolutions posed "one of the gravest and most serious" challenges to the UN today, Annan said. "Iraq has to comply. It must implement the disarmament program required by your resolutions," he said. "The inspectors must have unfettered access" to weapons sites, and it would be appropriate for the council "to pass a new resolution strengthening the inspectors' hand, so that there are no weaknesses or ambiguities," Annan said. "The new measures must be firm, effective, credible and reasonable," he added. "If Iraq fails to make use of this last chance, and defiance continues, the council will have to face its responsibilities. LEGITIMATE MEANS OF SELF DEFENCE http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=displaynews&doc_id=NR20021011670.2 _cd9b0000cd1a47cf * CO-CHAIR OF BELARUS-IRAQ TRADE COMMISSION REPLACED Hoover's (Financial Times), 11th October Source: Belapan news agency, Minsk, in English 1110 gmt 11 Oct 02, BBC Monitoring Minsk, 11 October: The Council of Ministers has dismissed Leanid Kozik as co-chairman of the Belarusian-Iraqi commission for trade and economic cooperation. Mr Kozik has been replaced with Mikalay Ivanchanka, deputy head of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's administration. Mr Ivanchanka, former director of the Belarusian State Concern for Material Resources (Belresursy), succeeded Mr Kozik at the presidential administration when the latter was elected chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus in mid-July. http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021016-81068264.htm * IRAQ SEEKS CHEMICAL FOR ARMS by Bill Gertz Washington Times, 16th October A Chinese state-run company is talking with Iraq about selling a chemical used in making missile fuel, although no transfer has been spotted, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Top Stories The covert procurement effort by Iraq was uncovered in August and is seen as a sign that Baghdad continues to work on building missiles and that Chinese companies remain key suppliers of missile goods. Disclosure of the China-Iraq talks on a missile-related chemical comes as Chinese President Jiang Zemin prepares to visit the United States for talks with President Bush in Texas. Mr. Jiang will visit the United States from Oct. 22 to 25 before traveling to Mexico for an economic summit. China's sales of products with both military and civilian uses to rogue states and unstable regions continues to be a problem, according to Bush administration officials. The intelligence report on the talks was sent to senior administration policy-makers in mid August ‹ around the time that China announced new export controls on its state-run companies to stem dangerous arms proliferation. On Aug. 22, China issued new export regulations aimed at limiting sales of missiles and missile-related items. A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said that details of the controls would be issued "in the near future." The controls were issued under pressure from the U.S. government, which has criticized China for two decades for not stopping sales of missile-related goods. The intelligence on the talks shows that arms-related transfers by China have continued despite the announced new controls, U.S. officials said. "Chinese arms proliferation activities to the Mideast have continued unabated," one official said. Another official said that intelligence agencies have not confirmed any transfer of a dual-use chemical but are continuing to monitor the region. A semiannual CIA report to Congress on global arms proliferation is overdue. The report is being held up by the Bush administration until after Mr. Jiang's visit. The last CIA report made public in January identified China as a key arms seller. The report stated that China provided "dual-use missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several other countries of proliferation concern ‹ such as Iran, North Korea and Libya." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said that Mr. Jiang's visit to the United States "is of great significance" and will focus on "major international issues of common concern," such as trade and anti-terrorism efforts. The Bush administration has imposed economic sanctions against Chinese companies for missile-related sales to Pakistan and Iran. China also assisted Iraq with a fiber-optic communications system that was used for both civilian and military communications, including Iraq's air-defense system, which continues to threaten U.S. and allied aircraft patrolling Iraqi skies. The fiber-optic network was bombed last year during U.S. military strikes. China, however, was never hit with economic sanctions for the system, despite U.N. prohibitions on arms related sales to Iraq. The identity of the dual-use chemical involved in the Iraq-China talks could not be confirmed. However, one official said that it was a component used to make nitric acid, a key element for missile fuel. U.S. and British intelligence agencies recently disclosed that Iraq has rebuilt a chemical facility destroyed during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Defense Intelligence Agency official John Yurechko told reporters during a briefing on Oct. 8 that the Iraqi chemical complex is known as Project Baiji, and was part of efforts by Baghdad to hide its weapons programs by using dual-use facilities. "We have to be honest ‹ all components and supplies used in [weapons of mass destruction] and missile programs are dual-use," Mr. Yurechko said, noting that the U.S. military is watching the plant because of its ability to make missile fuel. A British report on Iraq's weapons programs said that the country has been building Baiji since 1992 and that "intelligence reports indicate that it will produce nitric acid which can be used in explosives, missile fuel and in the purification of uranium." http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/10/14/ukraine.radar/index.html * 'RADAR SALE TO IRAQ' INQUIRY OPENS CNN, 14th October KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) -- U.S. and British officials are starting an investigation into suspicions that Ukraine approved the sale of an aircraft tracking system to Iraq despite U.N. sanctions. The probe was sparked when Washington received a tape allegedly recorded in July 2000 in which Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma is heard approving the sale of "Kolchuga" early warning systems to Baghdad. A senior U.S. administration official said the tracking system, which can detect and track aircraft without giving itself away, was "very sophisticated" and "should not be in the hands of Iraq." If this were the case it could complicate any possible U.S.-led military action to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The tape, which the U.S. State Department said it believed was authentic, was given to Washington by Kuchma's former bodyguard, Mykola Melnichenko, and has prompted the United States to re-examine its policy towards the ex-communist country, and in particular towards the president. The U.S. government suspended $55 million in aid to Kiev last month and officials have told CNN that more action could follow unless Washington receives a full account of any sales to Iraq. Viktor Medvedchuk, chief of Kuchma's staff, said on Monday Ukraine would cooperate with the experts. Government sources said the team would visit military installations where the Kolchugas are located and the producer in eastern Ukraine. "Ukraine is very worried about the charges and will do everything to help the investigators," Reuters quoted Medvedchuk as saying. The experts declined to comment. On Friday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that experts have reviewed the tapes and concluded the original recordings were edited. The Scientific and Research Institute for Legal Examinations at the Justice Ministry in Kiev had concluded that "the recordings of conversations, which were cited by the U.S. State Department, were edited after they were initially recorded," Reuters quoted the statement as saying. Kuchma last week gave "his word of honour" that he had not sold the system to Iraq and dismissed the tapes as dubious, Reuters said. The joint investigation starting on Monday involves U.S. and British "military and industrial experts," U.S. officials told Russia's Interfax news agency. It was agreed at a recent meeting between Ukrainian Presidential Chief of Staff Viktor Medvedchuk and U.S. Undersecretary of State Elizabeth Jones. A spokeswoman for Britain's Defence Ministry told Reuters on Monday the team would help investigate "concerns" over the radar system, including whether it had been sold to Iraq and what potential threat that might pose. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the investigation would "look into the circumstances of the procurement effort by the Iraqis, the nature of the equipment, (and) what transfers did or did not occur." U.S. officials have described the system as using multiple sites to passively receive aircraft signals, such as communications from warplanes. The sites then feed locational information to a central computer, which can process and triangulate a plane's location. Key to such a system is having computers and weapons guidance fast enough to accurately aim any ground fire. "First of all, it matters to us whether Iraq got this system or not," Boucher said, adding the administration was following up on some unconfirmed reports that the transfer took place. "But what also matters to us is the degree of cooperation we get, the degree of transparency we get, and the degree of commitment we get towards avoiding a repetition." The issue of weapons sales to Iraq in the face of U.N. sanctions has long been a sore spot in U.S.-Ukraine relations. Boucher said the matter has been repeatedly raised with the Kuchma government "to ensure that they protected against sales and made sure that no sales were made despite Iraq's attempts to procure military equipment." The suspended aid to Ukraine's central government, totalling nearly $55 million for the 2002 fiscal year, makes up 35 percent of U.S. aid to the country. The cut-off affects programmes funded under the Freedom Support Act, which includes work with the Ukraine government on political and fiscal reform. But it does not affect the bulk of U.S. assistance to Ukraine -- most of which goes to the private sector, non-governmental organisations, small businesses and local government entities. U.S. military and non-proliferation assistance to Ukraine will also be unaffected. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2002/10/17/013.html * UKRAINE SITES CHECKED IN IRAQ PROBE by Elizabeth Piper Moscow Times, 17th October Reuters, KIEV: U.S. and British experts fanned out across Ukraine on Wednesday, inspecting its main arms producer, other large military plants and holding talks to investigate charges the country's administration sold Iraq an early warning system. As an appeal court judge gathered documents to support his bid to investigate corruption charges against President Leonid Kuchma, the experts said they were pressing their inquiries over whether the Kolchuga aircraft detection system was in Iraq. The 13 experts, who arrived Sunday, are investigating U.S. charges that Kuchma approved the sale of the Kolchuga, which detects and tracks aircraft without giving itself away and could complicate any U.S.-led military action against Baghdad. "We cannot say at this point. We are in the middle of our meetings," Alan Van Egmond, the leader of the experts, said when asked about the state of the investigation. Asked whether officials were being open, he replied, "We have had a very active schedule of discussions and meetings." Officials in eastern Ukraine said two groups of experts had arrived; one to investigate the Topaz plant, which produces Kolchuga in Donetsk and another to visit Kharkiv, which is home to the country's largest plants producing tanks and other military equipment. "The experts have arrived and are working," said Oleksander Kashnikov, head of the special construction department in the Donetsk regional administration. The experts have given no details of their program, saying there was no deadline to check the claims, based on tapes made by Kuchma's former bodyguard in which the president is apparently heard giving the go-ahead to the sale. Kuchma has denied he sold the system to Iraq, and Ukrainian officials have cast doubt on the tapes, saying the copies they checked were edited. But the suspension of some financial aid by Washington and the arrival of the inspectors has put Kuchma under heightened pressure. Kuchma also has hanging over him a court appeal for a wide-ranging investigation into corruption charges. On Tuesday, a judge at the Kiev appeals court said he had ordered prosecutors to open a criminal probe into Kuchma's activities, the first legal challenge to the 64-year-old leader. After prosecutors refused to launch an investigation, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sent the appeal back to the court asking for further documentation to support the charges. European Union leaders told Ukraine on Wednesday it stands no chance of becoming a member until it respects common values of democracy, press freedom and arms control. "We are talking now about the standards which are necessary to be part of the European family," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters at a conference in Warsaw. "Ukraine has to have the structures that will allow it to get as close as possible to the European Union." Some delegates agreed that there was a long way to go. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko referred to the murder of opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze, whose headless corpse was found in November 2000. Recordings released by a former presidential bodyguard implicate Kuchma in the case. "Two years ago a journalist was killed; today we are killing the entire journalistic profession. Who would want to accept us in Europe with such standards?" Yushchenko said. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2002/10/17/009.html * FRIENDS CAN BUST SANCTIONS by Pavel Felgenhauer Moscow Times, 17th October The United States has accused Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of flouting UN sanctions by selling a sophisticated radar system to Iraq that could threaten the safety of U.S. and British pilots. As punishment for the alleged deal, Washington has suspended aid to the government in Kiev. This week a group of British and U.S. experts arrived in Ukraine to investigate the allegations, which Kuchma and his government have steadfastly denied. The Kolchuga (Russian for chain mail) system detects radar signals and other electromagnetic emissions from warplanes flying hundreds of kilometers away. It is a passive system, i.e. it does not emit any signals of its own and pilots do not know they are being tracked. A former bodyguard of Kuchma's, Mykola Melnichenko, secretly taped a conversation in July 2000 in which the Ukrainian president apparently approved the sale of four Kolchuga systems to Iraq through a Jordanian intermediary for $100 million. The U.S. authorities have declared the tape authentic and have announced that they have indications that the Kolchuga radar systems have indeed reached Iraq. But can a tape -- even if authentic -- be in itself sufficient proof that an illegal transaction went through? Surely the U.S. authorities should have got corroborating evidence before openly accusing a previously friendly government of sanctions-busting. For those who follow the dealings of the shady international arms market, sanctions-busting vis-a-vis Iraq is not news. UN sanctions barring any arms sales to Saddam were imposed in September 1990. If they had indeed been watertight for the past 12 years, there would not be a single Iraqi jet or helicopter flying, tank rolling, or radar and SAM battery operating today, due to the lack of spare parts and adequate maintenance. Saddam's army and even his Republican guard would resemble rebel forces from the Congo or Somalia. Obviously the UN arms sanctions are a sham. A Moscow banker, former military officer and professional arms trader who worked for the state arms export agency in the Middle East told me in 1997 (when I was investigating sanctions-busting) that spare parts for Russian made Iraqi weaponry have been shipped into Iraq with the help of Bulgarian and Turkish intermediaries, mostly via Jordan. Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland have also been mentioned as black market arms hubs. The East European black and gray arms trading network was established in the 1990s to supply arms to warring factions in former Yugoslavia and later turned to serve other clients such as Iraq, Ethiopia, and the Congo. A retired colonel and former official Russian arms trader, who switched to become a freelancer, told me how the system works. If a client appears with cash to put up front, an intermediary in Eastern Europe or the Middle East takes the deal and contacts "friends" in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan or Russia -- all countries with massive surpluses of modern weapons. A package deal is put together that can easily include mercenary pilots, mechanics and other specialists, if the client wishes. This network is well established and can cut through government red tape in no time by means of bribes. Of course, many government officials and local intelligence services are privy to these illegal deals. In 1997, I discovered solid evidence that in 1996 Iraq illegally acquired some 20 Mi-24 armored helicopter gunships. A Bulgarian company apparently masterminded the deal, the choppers were shipped from Ukraine or Russia, but it was Russian technicians, an official source told me, that traveled to Baghdad in 1996 to get them into working order. A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official involved in arms export control, whom I asked to investigate this incident, not only confirmed that Russia is breaking the embargo, but that in the UN secretariat in New York and, apparently, in Washington these facts are well known, but they are hushed up. Of late, Washington has accused leaders it doesn't like -- Kuchma and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko -- of smuggling arms to "rogue" states, including Iraq, while "friendly" regimes in Russia and Kazakhstan have been spared. However, if in the coming days Moscow vetoes a U.S.-sponsored anti-Saddam resolution in the UN Security Council, some major Western media outlet may come out with an anti-Russian arms smuggling scoop. If Russia abstains, Kuchma and Lukashenko may remain as the only ones in the dock. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk