UNSC decides to release Iraqi declaration to some
Security Council decides to release Iraqi arms declaration to some members
9 December – With Iraq’s 12,000-page declaration on its arms programme having arrived at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Security Council Presidency has decided to release the document to those members with the expertise to assess the risks of proliferation and other sensitive information in a bid to jumpstart the review of the text.
In a press statement released late Sunday night, the Council Presidency – currently held by Colombia – said the review will be conducted in close coordination and consultation with the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and will assist them “in producing a working version of the declaration as soon as possible.”
Responding this morning to questions about the Council’s decision, the Secretary-General told reporters as he entered the UN complex that he had “no problem” with it. “I think the Council is the master of its own deliberations,” he said. “If the Council decided to do that, it is their right and I will not quibble with that.”
The Secretary-General also counselled patience with the process, saying the UN weapons inspectors should be allowed time to go through the text before any comments are made about it. “The documents have just arrived, and as you all know, the inspectors will have to review them, analyze them, and report to the Council,” Mr. Annan said, noting that the process “is going to take a while.”
The Iraqi declaration, which had been handed over to the UN on Saturday evening in Baghdad, arrived on Sunday in New York at 8:40 p.m., a spokesman for the world body reported. “Both experts from UNMOVIC and IAEA have started going through the material,” Fred Eckhard told the press.
Interviewed by UN Radio, UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan said the initial examination would focus on assessing how to handle the 12,000-page document, including “what is the amount of [text in] Arabic, what is the amount of electronic material, paper material, and how long we reckon it will take us to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, Hiro Ueki, a spokesman for the inspection teams, said in Baghdad that an UNMOVIC team returned to the Falluja II site of the Al-Tariq Company, which includes a factory area. “Two separate chemical plants are in the factory area and their major activity is the production of phenol and chlorine,” he said, noting that the chlorine plant is currently inoperative.
“The site contains a number of tagged dual-use items of equipment, which were all accounted for,” the spokesman noted. “The objectives of the visit were successfully achieved.”
The IAEA inspected Tuwaitha, where five teams used “a wide range of inspection techniques, ranging from visual inspections to sampling for detection of any potential radiological activity using Gamma surveys, water sampling and swipe sampling techniques” and “started to take a physical inventory of nuclear materials” from the site, Mr. Ueki said.
At Ash Shakyli, “all buildings were inspected and sampled for the detection of radiological materials,” he added, while the IAEA team at Al Qa Qaa began “inventorying known explosive materials from the past nuclear programme” that had previously been under the Agency’s control.
UNSG PRESS ENCOUNTER TRANSCRIPT
New York, 9 December 2002 - Secretary-General's press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning. I hear you all got to see the big parcel last night!
Q: Mr. Secretary-General. What are your impressions initially here of the Declaration, from what you are hearing from Vienna, and from New York, as far as Iraqi cooperation, and their willingness to reveal now to the world their WMD programme?
SG: I think the documents have just arrived, and as you all know, the inspectors will have to review them, analyse them, and report to the [Security] Council. And I think that's going to take a while. And until they've done that, I don't think I will have much to tell you.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, would you say the United States is putting too much pressure, too little pressure or just enough pressure on Mr. Blix?
SG: Well, I have always maintained that the inspectors have work to do, and we should allow them to do a professional job. And I have indicated they should be given the time and the space to do it, and I hope all Member States will do that. And don't forget, the Resolution was passed unanimously, and I do expect the Council to support the inspectors as they do a professional job.
Q: The Administration in Washington keeps insisting that the Iraqis cannot be trusted and that this Report, like previous reports, will not be truthful. Are you concerned that this will lead to hostilities, to clashes?
SG: I will wait for the inspectors to finish their analysis and report to the Council before we get to that hurdle.
Q: Mr. Secretary, the Americans are saying they have evidence, solid evidence - the Resolution 1441 demands that Member States cooperate with the inspectors - give them the information they need. Are you being told by the Administration why aren't they playing ball, why aren't they giving the evidence to the inspectors?
SG: Well, Mr. Blix has indicated that he would appreciate sharing of intelligence, and he would like governments who have information to give him and the inspectors that information, particularly with regard to sites where they may find hidden material.
Q: Sir, Mr. Secretary-General, the United States agreed on Friday in the Security Council to allow Dr. Blix to redact the document, and now they seem to have changed their mind and would like a full copy. Is it your concern that this process is somewhat being hijacked by the US policy, US foreign policy?
SG: Well, the President of the Council seems to have a new sense of the Council, a new sense that the document should be given to certain members of the Council, and has worked that out with Blix. If that is the wish of the Council I have no problem with that.
Q: Mr. Secretary, the decision to give a copy to the permanent five [members of the Security Council] and not to the non- permanent ten, does that strike you as a democratic decision?
SG: I think the Council is a master of its own deliberations. If the Council decided to do that, it is their right and I will not quibble with that.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you think that Saddam Hussein is now seriously trying to avoid war, judging from the fact that they presented the documents in time, as they promised?
SG: I have maintained that war is not inevitable, and it is up to President Saddam Hussein to disarm, to cooperate fully with the inspectors, and honour all his obligations to the United Nations. If that were to be done I would see no reason for war.
Q: Sir, on Cyprus, are you ready to submit your revised Plan, and also are you having any plans to travel to Copenhagen for the Summit?
SG: We have got the comments from both parties, and we are looking at a revised text, which I hope will be ready shortly, and we will share them with the parties.
Q: Do you have any plans to travel to Copenhagen for the Summit?
SG: I have no plans as of today to go to Copenhagen.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you have a reaction on the Iraqi statement to the Kuwaiti people over the weekend?
SG: I haven't studied the full text; apparently it was a long text. I know that there was an apology to the people and the government of [Kuwait], which is a positive development. But I will have to analyse the text to see what the rest of the statement says. There are indications that some of the things that were said may not be that helpful, but I will have to study the full text.
Thank you very much.