Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  

UN Demand for Report Confuses Iraq

Recommended Posts

U.N. Demand for Report Confuses Iraq

12 minutes ago

By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Confusion persists within the Iraqi government over how to meet the Security Council's demand for a full account of chemical, biological and nuclear programs in the country, a U.N. spokesman said Friday.

The report is due 11 days after international experts resume inspections of Iraq next week — following a four-year suspension — in search of storage or production facilities for weapons of mass destruction. The Baghdad government says it no longer has such weapons programs.

But government officials also seem uncertain about how to comply with the U.N. mandate to provide a detailed accounting of its weapon capabilities.

"They seem to have a lot of confusion as to what the declaration should include," U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki said.

Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix said earlier this week that Iraqi officials expressed "particular concern" about providing on short notice a detailed report on its chemical industry, which can include factories that can be used for weapons or peaceful purposes.

Some specialists believe the Iraqis retain chemical weapons from earlier years.

The mandatory report could prove critically important in deciding whether Iraq has complied with the U.N. resolution.

"It's up to the Iraqi government to decide what to include" in their accounting, Ueki said.

The inspectors are back in Iraq under a new Security Council resolution demanding the Iraqis give up any weapons of mass destruction or face "serious consequences."

From 1991 to 1998, U.N. expert teams destroyed large amounts of chemical and biological weapons and longer-range missiles forbidden to Iraq by U.N. resolutions after the Gulf War. They also dismantled Iraq's nuclear weapons program before it could build a bomb.

Those inspections ended amid disputes over access to sensitive "presidential sites" and Iraqi complaints of U.S. spying from within the U.N. agency.

President Bush has threatened military action against Iraq if the government refuses to cooperate fully with the inspectors this time. However, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annansaid Friday that he was hopeful that the Iraqis would cooperate and war could be avoided.

"I hope that he and the Iraqi leadership realize that they have to comply," Annan said in an interview with Dutch television. "I myself have urged President Saddam Hussein, for the sake of his people, the sake of the region and world order, to disarm and to cooperate with the inspectors fully."

Also Friday, Russian President Vladmir Putin told Bush that United States should not wage war alone against Iraq. "We do believe that we have to stay within the framework of the work being carried out by the Security Council of the United Nations," Putin said at a joint news conference with Bush in Russia.

The first operational contingent of 18 U.N. inspectors arrives in Baghdad on Monday, and their initial inspection is expected Wednesday, when they will probably begin revisiting sites inspected in the 1990s by other U.N. teams, looking for signs of a resumption of weapons-making.

The council's Nov. 7 resolution requires the Baghdad government to make a declaration by Dec. 8 of any weapons of mass destruction, facilities to manufacture them, and "all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programs," even those not related to military uses.

"They seem to have a lot of confusion as to what the declaration should include," Ueki said. "Ultimately, it's their decision."

Major gaps and discrepancies in such Iraqi declarations could be construed as a serious enough violation to warrant a new Security Council debate over punitive measures.

If the inspectors, on the other hand, eventually certify that Iraq has cooperated fully with their disarmament work, the council is supposed to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

In an interview Friday with "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear inspectors, said he was optimistic that the Iraqis understood the risks.

"I think the Iraqi authorities are aware that they don't have much wiggle room" and that "Iraq must prove that it has no weapons of mass destruction," ElBaradei said. "Obviously, we'll have to wait and see."

ElBaradei said that if the Iraqis make good on their word, the inspectors believe that within a year, they could recommend that the Security Council suspend — but not lift — sanctions.

The U.N. resolution requires Iraq to supply an updated list of scientists and technicians who worked on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles. But Ueki said it has yet to be received.

"We reiterated the Security Council's request for the list," he said.

The names will serve as a roster of potential informants for the inspectors, who have the right under the resolution to request private interviews of Iraqi specialists, and even to offer to fly them out of the country to be interviewed.

The inspection agency was also awaiting agreement with the U.S. government for the use of sophisticated surveillance aircraft, such as the U-2 and possibly the CIA (news - web sites)'s unmanned Predator, to overfly and monitor suspected weapons sites in Iraq, as U-2s did for the U.N. inspections program in the 1990s.

Ueki said he believed officials at New York's U.N. headquarters continued discussions with Washington over such reconnaissance support.

In what has become almost a daily occurrence the past week, the U.S. military reported its warplanes bombed air defense targets Friday in the U.S.-declared "no-fly zone" of southern Iraq. U.S. planes also attacked targets in southern Iraq on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this