Global Policy Forum

Outline Positions On Possible Resolution Concerning Iraq

UN News
October 17, 2002

Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom) said his country's firm objective was the complete disarmament of Iraq in the area of weapons of mass destruction by peaceful means. Ensuring that there was such a solution lay in the hands of Iraq. In 1991, the Council had set out conditions governing the ceasefire between Iraq and the international coalition. Over 11 years later, Iraq remained in material breach of those obligations. No shadow of doubt remained that Iraq had defied the United Nations. Iraq could have invited the inspectors back without conditions at any time in the last few years and sanctions could have been lifted. Only under the recent intense diplomatic pressure, and particularly the threat of military action, had the Iraqi Government's letter of 16 September emerged.

He said the United Kingdom's analysis, backed by reliable intelligence, indicated that Iraq still possessed chemical and biological materials and had active military plans for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons. It also showed that Iraq had tried to buy multiple components relevant to the production of a nuclear bomb. He wished to see the Council expressing its will and its unity in a clear, strong resolution that must give the regime in Baghdad an unequivocal choice: complete disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and normal membership in the international community; or refusal and the inevitable consequences. If that choice was clear, and the Council kept its nerve, then there might be a prospect that Iraq would finally comply with its obligations and that military action could be averted.

Ensuring that United Nations inspections were effective meant giving the inspectors the penetrating strength to ensure the successful disarmament of Iraq, he said. Recent Iraqi letters on practical arrangements, the language of which brought back the obfuscations of the past, reinforced the need for strengthened inspections and for practical arrangements to be made legally binding. Regarding Member States' concerns that one should not rush to war, he said his Government would expect a detailed Council discussion if Mr. Blix or Mr. ElBaradei reported that Iraq was not fully cooperating with the inspection process.

Addressing concerns that the non-permanent members of the Council had been kept in the dark, he said the United Kingdom and the United States had met twice as often with non-permanent members since 12 September as they had with the permanent members. He said Iraq was also in breach of other Council obligations, including on the repatriation of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the return of all Kuwaiti property. There could be no humane reason why Iraq had failed to comply for so long. He called on Iraq to now rectify that non-compliance, including by resuming its participation in the Tripartite Commission under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Zhang Yishan (China) said the long absence of a solution to the Iraq question did not serve peace and stability of the region or the credibility of the Council. Iraq should unconditionally and without restrictions implement Council resolutions at an early date. The international community should seek a comprehensive settlement through diplomatic means. A majority of Member States had emphasized that the question should be settled under the United Nations and that unity of the Council was of paramount importance. They had also expressed their preference for peace over war.

He said the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and other countries in the region should be respected. The question of disarmament was at the core of a solution. Iraq should destroy all weapons of mass destruction in its possession and refrain from using them. Only when inspectors returned to Iraq and conducted effective inspections could the truth be found out. He was pleased with the unconditional acceptance of inspectors by Iraq, and hoped that country would honour the agreed practical arrangements for inspections. The inspectors should return as soon as possible and return to the Council the inspection results. Under such circumstances, he said, he could consider a new resolution of the question. The new resolution should support the work of UNMOVIC and the IAEA and should be practical and feasible.

Other aspects of the Iraqi questions included the humanitarian situation in Iraq. He called on all parties to the "oil-for-food" programme to improve the humanitarian situation. He called on Iraq to take concrete steps for settlement of the issue of Kuwaiti missing persons and third-country nationals.

John Negroponte (United States, full text)
Mr. President:

On September 12, President George Bush outlined to the United Nations General Assembly the history of Iraq's defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, listed the steps Iraq must take if it wishes peace and stated that the United States would work with the United Nations Security Council to hold Iraq to account.

This speech was a declaration of purpose, not a declaration of war. It put the United Nations in the spotlight and it challenged the international community to restore the Security Council's relevance on this issue by confronting this threat to international peace and security, and 11 years of failure by Iraq to accept the demands made of it after its invasion and destruction of Kuwait.

The threat today is serious and unique and it arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions - its history of aggression and brutality, its defiance of the international community and its drive toward an arsenal of terror and destruction. This is a regime that has invaded two of its neighbors and tried to annihilate one of them; a regime that has used chemical weapons on its neighbors and its very own citizens; a regime that has lied about its development of weapons of mass destruction; a regime that signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and then proceeded to develop a major nuclear weapons program.

Eleven years ago, as one of the conditions for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Security Council required the Iraqi regime to destroy its weapons of mass destruction and cease all development of such weapons. As President Bush noted yesterday when signing the Congressional resolution on Iraq, at the time, Iraq was given 15 days to fully disclose its weapons of mass destruction - the Baghdad regime has defied this obligation for 4199 days. The Security Council also demanded, eleven years ago, that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands and renounce all involvement with terrorism. Iraq agreed to these demands, and more at the time and these are commitments that Iraq must comply with. The Council has tried in every way to bring Iraq to peaceful fulfillment of the Gulf War ceasefire, yet the Iraqi regime has violated all of its obligations. As President Bush said earlier this month in Cincinnati, "the entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven year history of defiance, deception and bad faith."

And the Security Council is not the only international body that is focused on the behavior of the Iraqi regime. Last year, a year when the United States was not a member, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution strongly condemning, and I quote, the "systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror."

Today, exactly five weeks after the President spoke, we meet for the first time to publicly discuss the message the Security Council will send to Iraq and to its leader, Saddam Hussein. Our view of that message has been clear from September 12. There can be no more "business-as-usual" or toothless resolutions that Iraq will continue to ignore. Our intent is that the Council meet the challenge, and stand firm, resolute and united in adopting a resolution that holds Iraq to its commitments, that lays out clearly what Iraq must do to comply and which states that there will be consequences if Iraq refuses to comply.

We expect the Council to act, and when the Council adopts a resolution that sends a clear and united message to Iraq that it must fulfill its obligations, Iraq will have a choice. It will have to decide whether to take this last chance to comply. We hope that it will choose to comply. If it does not, we will seek compliance and disarmament by other means.

This is not an easy issue for any of us on the Council. The world's united response to Iraqi aggression in 1990 and 1991, expressed through a series of unique, groundbreaking Security Council resolutions, brought the world body closest to the visions of its founders. The Council's requirements were far reaching, commensurate with both the threat and the Council's determination that Iraq never again possess the means to threaten - even destroy - its neighbors. In the ensuing decade, however, Iraq's failure to implement this body's peace terms became for the United Nations a question of enormous significance. The challenge now is whether the United Nations can perform the function its founders envisaged? We very much hope the answer will be "yes".

The five weeks since the President came to the UN to discuss the threat posed by Iraq have passed quickly. We have seen signs of emerging Council unity during intensive discussions here and in capitals, involving the highest levels of our respective governments. We have also seen clear signs that Iraq is reverting to form. We have seen Iraq invite inspectors to return "without conditions", and then immediately place conditions. We have seen requests for clarity from UNMOVIC and IAEA on practical arrangements met by Iraqi obfuscation and multiple answers, which in fact avoid answering at all.

Not surprisingly, in the first test of the so-called "new Iraqi cooperation," Iraq has shown that they hope to return to the word games, ephemeral commitments, and misdirection of the past, while continuing to develop the world's deadliest weapons.

This is why a clear, firm message from this Council is so important. Miscalculation by Iraq will be dangerous. This body, and indeed the entire membership of the UN, do no favor to the people of Iraq, do no favor to those who seek a better future for Iraq, do no favor to the countries of the region and do no favor to the credibility of the United Nations if they create the impression that an outcome in which Iraq retains its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs is an acceptable, or possible outcome.

Over the past five weeks, a consensus has been forming in the Security Council that the time for denial, deception and delay has come to an end, and that Iraq must be verifiably disarmed. There is growing agreement that there must be immediate, unconditional and unrestricted inspections of all Iraqi facilities that may have a role in the development of weapons of mass destruction.

The United States, together with the United Kingdom, has shared with the other members of the Council the elements of our vision of a resolution that will address Iraq's material breach of its obligations under relevant Security Council Resolutions, specify the types of access and authorities that UNMOVIC and IAEA must have to be able to effectively verify Iraqi disarmament, make clear Iraq's obligations and articulate to Iraq that there will be consequences to non-compliance.

The United States believes that the best way to ensure Iraqi compliance is through one resolution that is firm and unambiguous in its message.

We are considering the reactions we have received, and will be placing before the Council, in the near future, a resolution with clear and immediate requirements - requirements that Iraq would voluntarily meet if it chooses to cooperate.

We have also shared these elements with the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. While they can and should speak for themselves, both Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei have made it clear that they would welcome a new Security Council Resolution that strengthens their hands and allows for more effective inspections.

While all this diplomatic activity has been taking place, in the United States we have been having a great national debate. Last week, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a joint resolution that expressed support for the administration's diplomatic efforts in the Security Council to ensure that "Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and non-compliance" and authorized the use of United States Armed Forces should diplomatic efforts fail. This resolution tells the world that the United States speaks with one determined voice. Yesterday, when President Bush signed this resolution, he said that he has not ordered the use of force. The United States hopes that the use of force will not become necessary. But the President also said that the choice for Iraq is straightforward: "either the Iraqi regime will give up its weapons of mass destruction, or, for the sake of peace, the United States will lead a global coalition to disarm that regime."

Now, the spotlight is back on the Security Council. We hope and expect that the Security Council will act and play its proper role as safeguard of our common security. If it fails to do so, then we and other states will be forced to act.

The US/UK approach aims at clarity - clarity with respect to what Iraq must now do to fulfill its 1991 obligations to restore peace and security in the region; clarity with respect to what inspectors must be allowed to do; and clarity with respect to our seriousness. Without such clarity, there is too high a danger that Iraq will miscalculate. And miscalculation by Iraq will lead to precisely the military action we all hope to avoid.

Mr. President, Colleagues, the Security Council faces a defining moment. The Security Council works best on Iraq when it works together. As we witnessed last spring with the successful passage of Security Council Resolution 1409 and the establishment of the Goods Review List, when the Security Council is resolute and united, its actions produce results. We must stand together and show Iraq that its failure to comply will no longer be tolerated.

Thank you.
(Source: US Mission to the UN)

Jean-David Levitte (France) said by refusing to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors, Iraq had defied the international community and the authority of the Security Council. Even though France did not have irrefutable proof, there were indications that Iraq had used the period since the inspectors left to pursue or resume its prohibited programmes, notably in the chemical and biological areas. That situation could not be tolerated. For France, the objective was the disarmament of Iraq. That implied the return of the inspectors and re-establishing monitoring on the ground.

He said that while doubt had been expressed as to the inspectors' ability to fulfil their mission, there was no reason to question their effectiveness, since the inspections regime defined by resolution 1284 had not yet been tested on the ground. Further, the outcome of the previous United Nations inspections had been very positive. It wasn't the inspections that had failed, but the international community's ability to enforce its decisions in a sufficiently firm and united manner. France supported measures strengthening the inspection regime insofar as it facilitated the inspectors' work. The Council, for example, must examine the question of immediate access to presidential palaces.

Yet France rejected measures that would multiply risks the inspectors might face, he said. It also supported a multinational and independent inspection team. Finally, the opinions of Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei -- who would lead the inspections on the ground -- should guide the Council in its choices.

France supported the principle of collective security -- a principle at the heart of all the Organization's work and international order, he said. The Iraq question should not be an exception. France therefore proposed a two-stage approach. During the first stage, the Council should adopt a resolution clearly specifying the "rules of the game". It should define the inspectors' regime and ensure that inspectors could fully accomplish their mission without hindrance. That resolution should also send a clear warning to Iraq that the Council would not tolerate new violations. During the second stage, if UNMOVIC and the IAEA observed that Iraq was refusing to cooperate fully with the inspectors, the Council should meet immediately to decide appropriate measures to take -- ruling out no alternatives.

France believed that approach, which had also been proposed by the Secretary-General, was the only one that could offer unity, cohesion, fairness and legitimacy to the Council's work, he said. Indeed, unity in the Council was absolutely vital -- as in the past, Iraq had taken advantage of divisions within the international community to renege on its promises and defy the Council's authority. Any automatic decision on the use of force would profoundly divide the Council, and only a united front would convince Iraq not to repeat its error. The Council must also demonstrate its fairness by showing Iraq that war was not inevitable if it fully complied with its obligations. With so much at stake, the Council must remain in charge of the process every step of the way.

Finally, he said the debate constituted a defining moment for the Council and the United Nations. Fundamental issues were at stake. "Even beyond Iraq", he said, "we are talking about the future of international order, relations between North and South, and notably, our relationship with the Arab world". An action of uncertain legitimacy, one that did not enjoy the support of the international community would not be understood and could gravely affect those relations.

Sergey Lavrov (Russian Federation) said the current impasse on Iraq had its roots not only in Iraqi intransigence, but also in the Council's inability to objectively assess the situation. The 7,000 inspections of UNSCOM and the IAEA had achieved much success in fulfilment of the relevant resolutions. Unfortunately, the Council was not able to recognize that fact four years ago. Instead, a standoff had ensued, and air strikes were launched. UNSCOM had played a role in undermining the basis for reaching a final settlement.

The Russian Federation, he said, had also made concrete proposals for criteria for lifting of sanctions in ensuing resolutions, which were not accepted. The only way of making sure that weapons of mass destruction were eliminated in Iraq was returning inspectors, to which Iraq had agreed. Everything was now in place for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis. No new decisions were needed by the Security Council. The inspectors did not need new decisions; they needed clarity. If Mr. Blix, to achieve such clarity, required new resolutions, his delegation would be prepared to work on that.

Progress, he said, could also be made on the return of Kuwaiti detainees and property. However, the Security Council could not give its consent to a new resolution for the purpose of the use of force for regime change. The vast majority of the international community had been calling for the return of inspectors and a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. That call could not be ignored.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.