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UNSG & UNMOVIC Chairman Hans Blix On Res. 1441

New York, 8 November 2002 - Comments by the Secretary-General and UNMOVIC Chairman Hans Blix following adoption of Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq

SG: Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

I think we are all very pleased that the Council has adopted this Resolution [1441] unanimously. As you heard most Council members indicate, and in my own statement, we believe Iraq now has a chance to press ahead with disarmament of the weapons of mass destruction. And I hope Iraq will seize this moment and this opportunity.

And I have also appealed to all governments with influence to remain engaged and encourage and urge Iraq to comply. I am particularly looking to the contribution of the Arab League states who were very instrumental in helping Iraq to change its position and I hope they will remain engaged to get the message across that it not enough to let the inspectors come in – it is a good beginning – but what is important is performance. And I hope Iraq will perform and offer the chief [weapons] inspectors the full cooperation that they deserve.

I think the Security Council took its time, acted patiently, and in the end we have an optimal decision and result and I am very, very pleased. I know I kept telling some of you that “we will have unanimity”, “we will have fifteen votes' and you didn't believe me. But here we are.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, what can you do to preserve the integrity of UNMOVIC? The Chinese, the President of the Security Council referred to lessons to be learned from UNSCOM. A major problem with UNSCOM was that its integrity was in question. What are you going to do to ensure that the same thing doesn't happen ?

SG: I think that the establishment of UNMOVIC is an attempt by the Security Council to correct some of the past weaknesses and errors. And here we have two strong leaders, we have a team of inspectors who have been very carefully picked, from all over the world, who have been given training, including sensitivity training and who have strict instructions to stick to what they are in Iraq to do and nothing else. And I think under the leadership of Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei we can look forward to that kind of performance.

Q: The stick has been mentioned in this Resolution in more than one place, about consequences. Yet there are no carrots for the Iraqis. Isn't there any reward for complying, and why wasn't it mentioned in this?

SG: I think in the statements by the members this morning, there was quite a lot of encouragement for Iraq to honour its obligations and commitments to the Council so that we can see a situation where Iraq will join the international community, that the sanctions will be lifted, and the people of Iraq, who have suffered for so long, will live normal lives again. And I think most of the speakers referred to this need.

Q: What do you feel about the fact that the Security Council ? Sort of put aside the Memorandum of Understanding that you had signed already and taken up in the Resolution. Do you think it's possible that the Iraqis can cooperate by allowing inspectors into the palaces??

SG: I think the Security Council Resolution of today is the governing document, and Iraq has to comply. What you are referring to [inaudible] of a different era – we have a new ballgame now and Iraq has to comply.

Q: Sir, the US Ambassador talked about the Resolution not restraining any member state to act against Iraqi non-compliance. Does that concern you that a member state may take it upon itself to respond that way?

SG: Well, I think the Ambassador also indicated that if there is no automatic trigger in the current Resolution as it stands, and that if the inspectors were to report back that Iraq is not cooperating and is not complying, the Council would meet again and take an appropriate decision. What the Ambassador was referring to, is when the Council comes back the second time around and engages in discussion, they all hope that the Council will face up to its decisions, in effect saying, we are not going to be tied down. But I think the Council will have the chance to look at this issue again based on the report of the inspectors. What is important is that there are no triggers in this resolution and the Council will be back to review what the inspectors bring back.

Q: [inaudible]

HB: If it strengthens the mandate of the IAEA and of UNMOVIC, clearly.

Q: [inaudible]

HB: Well, as the Secretary-General said it requires the cooperation of Iraq. They will have to submit the declaration within thirty days - of their programmes of weapons of mass destruction, also programmes in the peaceful sector.

Q: Dr. Blix, could you tell us, over the next week or two, what your next steps are?

HB: Well, I should safely say first that we are very pleased that the Resolution was adopted by unanimity – that strengthens our mandate very much. Secondly, as to the timetable, we are planning to go to Baghdad on Monday the 18th of this month – so it will be within the seven to ten days that we had planned.

SG: Thank you very much.

ENDS

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