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Concerns About Iraq Best Met by Inspection Teams


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

25 September 2002

British Concerns About Iraq WMD Capacity Best Met in First Instance by Readmission of Inspection Teams

The British assessment of Iraq’s capacity to produce and deliver weapons of mass destruction makes a strong case for the immediate and unconditional return of weapons inspection teams to Iraq, says Foreign Minister, Phil Goff.

“The British assessment is based in part on its access to intelligence reports.

“In the absence of the ability to release such reports, the assessment cannot make a definitive case.

“However, against the background of Iraq’s past possession and use of chemical and biological weapons, it is a fair assumption that it has both the capacity and access to materials to have again produced such weapons.

“There are also strong grounds to suspect that while Iraq does not have the materials to produce nuclear weapons, it has the ambition and has taken steps towards trying to acquire nuclear capacity.

“There are clear resolutions passed by the United Nations banning Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and requiring it to submit to inspections for such weapons.

“Past resolutions have not been complied with. A strong Security Council resolution demanding immediate and unconditional compliance with past resolutions is now needed.

“It should be made clear that further non-compliance will result in a resolution which allows all necessary means to enforce these requirements on Iraq.

“Ultimately, if all else fails the proportionate use of force must be considered.

“Our position has always been that this must be UN mandated, not unilateral.

“The information presented by Britain makes out a strong case for weapons inspection teams to be readmitted to Iraq, immediately and without conditions.

“The case has not yet been made out that Iraq poses such an imminent threat that justifies an immediate military invasion with all the costs and implications incurred by such an action,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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