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Vote on the Iraq Resolution - Amb. Negroponte

Vote on the Iraq Resolution

John D. Negroponte, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Explanation of Vote Following the Vote on the Iraq Resolution, UN Security Council
New York, New York
November 8, 2002

Released by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Mr. President, this Resolution constitutes the world community’s demand that Iraq disclose and destroy its weapons of mass destruction.

On September 12, President Bush came to the General Assembly seeking to begin to build an international consensus to counter Iraq’s persistent defiance of the United Nations. Over a decade ago, after evicting Iraq from Kuwait, the Security Council determined that peace and security in the Persian Gulf region required that Iraq, verifiably, give up its weapons of mass destruction. The Council reached that decision because of Iraq’s record of aggression against its neighbors and use of chemical and biological weapons. For eleven years, without success, we have tried a variety of ways, including diplomacy, inspections, and economic sanctions to obtain Iraqi compliance. By this Resolution, we are now united in trying a different course. That course is to send a clear message to Iraq insisting on its disarmament in the area of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, or face the consequences.

The Resolution we have just adopted puts the conflict between Iraq and the United Nations in context and recalls the obligations on Iraq and the authorities of member states to enforce them. It begins by reference to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 and the international community’s response. It recalls that the cease-fire ending the 1991 Gulf War was conditioned on Iraq’s disarmament with respect to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, together with their support infrastructures, ending its involvement in, and support for, terrorism, and its accounting for, and restoration of, foreign nationals and foreign property wrongfully seized. In addition, the Council demanded that the Iraqi Government stop oppressing the Iraqi people. Iraq has ignored those obligations essential to peace and security.

The Resolution confirms what has been clear for years: that Iraq has been and remains in violation of disarmament obligations – "material breach" in lawyers’ language. The Council then decides to afford Iraq a final opportunity to comply. As a means to that end, the Resolution then establishes an enhanced, strengthened inspection regime. The Resolution gives UNMOVIC and the IAEA a new, powerful mandate. Its core is immediate and unimpeded access to every site, including Presidential or other Sensitive Sites, structure, or vehicle they choose to inspect and equally immediate and unimpeded access to people they wish to interview. In other words: "anyone, anywhere, any time." And, the Resolution gives UNMOVIC and the IAEA the power to do their work properly and to ensure the verifiable destruction of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and associated infrastructure and support programs.

Let us be clear: the inspections will not work unless the Iraqi regime cooperates fully with UNMOVIC and the IAEA. We hope all member states now will press Iraq to undertake that cooperation. This resolution is designed to test Iraq’s intentions: will it abandon its weapons of mass destruction and its illicit missile programs or continue its delays and defiance of the entire world? Every act of Iraqi non-compliance will be a serious matter, because it would tell us that Iraq has no intention of disarming.

As we have said on numerous occasions to Council members, this Resolution contains no "hidden triggers" and no "automaticity" with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA, or a member state, the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12. The Resolution makes clear that any Iraqi failure to comply is unacceptable and that Iraq must be disarmed. And one way or another, Mr. President, Iraq will be disarmed. If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of a further Iraqi violation, this resolution does not constrain any member state from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, or to enforce relevant UN resolutions and protect world peace and security.

To the Government of Iraq, our message is simple: non-compliance no longer is an option.

To our colleagues on the Security Council, our message is one of partnership: over seven weeks, we have built international consensus on how to proceed towards Iraq, and we have come together, recognizing that our collective security is at stake and that we must meet this challenge, as proposed by President Bush on September 12.

To the Secretary General, Dr. Blix, and Dr. El-Baradei: We urge you to make full use of the tools given you in this resolution, and we pledge our full support. And we urge every member of the United Nations to offer you all assistance possible.

To the governments and peoples of the Arab world, including the people of Iraq: the purpose of this Resolution is to open the way to a peaceful solution of this issue. That is the intention and wish of my government. When the Baghdad regime claims that the United States is seeking to wage war on the Arab world, nothing could be further from the truth. What we seek, and what the Council seeks by this Resolution, is the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. We urge you to join us in our common effort to secure that goal and assure peace and security in the region.

President Bush asked the Security Council to take on the challenge posed by Iraq. He asked that it find Iraq in material breach of its ongoing obligations, that it establish an enhanced inspection regime as a means for obtaining the disarmament of Iraq in the area of weapons of mass destruction, and that it make clear that the most serious consequences for Iraq would follow continued defiance. This Resolution accomplishes each of these purposes. Moreover, it does so as a result of intense and open discussions with our Security Council partners. In this process, different views about the shape and language of a resolution were fused into the common approach our British partners and we wanted to create.

This Resolution affords Iraq a final opportunity. The Secretary General said on September 12, "If Iraq’s defiance continues, the Security Council must face its responsibilities." We concur with the wisdom of his remarks. Members can rely on the United States to live up to its responsibilities if the Iraq regime persists with its refusal to disarm.

ENDS

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