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Cablegate: Un/Iraq: Council Press Statements Following The

O 060221Z FEB 03
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3602
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE
NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
WHITEHOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 000300

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC PARM IZ
SUBJECT: UN/IRAQ: COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENTS FOLLOWING THE
SECRETARY'S PRESENTATION

REF: USUN 299

1. (U) SUMMARY: COUNCIL MEMBERS, STATEMENTS TO THE PRESS
FOLLOWING SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION CLOSELY REFLECTED
THE CONTENT OF THEIR PREPARED NATIONAL STATEMENTS MADE IN THE
COUNCIL CHAMBER, AND LARGELY FELL ALONG PREDICTABLE LINES.
WHEN ASKED IF SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION CONVINCED HIM
OF ANYTHING, FRENCH FM DE VILLEPIN RESPONDED THAT THE
PRESENTATION CONTAINED "NO ABSOLUTE PROOF, ONLY SUSPICIONS."
CHINESE FM TANG STRESSED THAT INFORMATION FROM MEMBER STATES
SHOULD BE PROVIDED TO THE INSPECTORS, WHO ARE THE APPROPRIATE
AGENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANALYZING THIS INFORMATION. GERMAN FM
FISCHER RESPONDED TO MANY QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS--
INCLUDING ONE ON THE ILLEGAL EXPORT OF GERMAN GOODS TO IRAQ
-- BY RECOMMENDING ONGOING, INCREASED AND STRENGTHENED
INSPECTIONS. BULGARIAN FM PASSY NOTED THAT THE RIFT BETWEEN
THE U.S. AND SOME EUROPEAN STATES WAS DECREASING, WHILE THE
POSSIBILITY FOR A UNANIMOUS SOLUTION WAS INCREASING. SYRIAN
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE WEHBE STATED THAT SECRETARY
POWELL,S PRESENTATION WAS THE FIRST TIME HE HAD HEARD ABOUT
ANY LINK BETWEEN IRAQ AND "SO-CALLED" TERRORIST
ORGANIZATIONS, AND STATED THAT HE WAS PLEASED BY FISCHER,S
"PEACEFUL" STATEMENT. IRAQI PR AL-DOURI PRESENTED A PREPARED
STATEMENT TO THE PRESS, AND NOTED THAT HE WOULD DEFER A MORE
DETAILED REACTION PENDING THE PRESENTATION OF THE OFFICIAL
GOI RESPONSE LATER IN THE AFTERNOON. (COMMENT: THE HEAVY
RELIANCE ON PREVIOUSLY PREPARED TEXTS, EVEN IN ADDRESSING THE
PRESS, SUGGESTED THAT DELEGATIONS HAD YET TO DETERMINE HOW TO
RESPOND TO THE SECRETARY'S PRESENTATION. END COMMENT.) END
SUMMARY.

FRANCE

2. (U) FM DE VILLEPIN OF FRANCE THANKED SECRETARY POWELL FOR
SHARING HIS INFORMATION AND "SUSPICIONS," A TERM HE
REPEATEDLY USED IN DESCRIBING THE CONTENT OF THE
PRESENTATION. VILLEPIN IS NOW EXPECTING ANSWERS FROM IRAQ,
WHICH MUST ANSWER. HE NOTED THAT FRANCE MUST COMPARE THE
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY SECRETARY POWELL WITH ITS OWN
INTELLIGENCE. VILLEPIN SEES AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENHANCE
INSPECTIONS, UNDER UNSCR 1441. REPEATING ELEMENTS OF HIS
STATEMENTS TO THE COUNCIL (REFTEL), HE DEEMED THE COUNCIL
COULD ASK MORE OF IRAQ, AS WELL AS DOUBLE OR TRIPLE THE
NUMBER OF INSPECTORS, INCREASE THE INTELLIGENCE PROVIDED TO
INSPECTORS, AND ENHANCE THE CAPACITY FOR AERIAL OBSERVATION.
ALL OF THIS WAS NECESSARY BEFORE RESORTING TO FORCE, HE SAID.
ASKED IF SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION CONVINCED HIM IN
ANY RESPECT, VILLEPIN RESPONDED THAT THE PRESENTATION
CONTAINED "NO ABSOLUTE PROOF, ONLY SUSPICIONS." QUESTIONED
FURTHER ABOUT IRAQ,S ONGOING DECEPTION, VILLEPIN STRESSED
THAT THERE ARE INSPECTORS ON THE GROUND, WHO ARE "THE
COUNCIL,S EYES AND EARS." SO LONG AS INSPECTORS ARE "IN A
POSITION TO DO WORK, WE REMAIN IN THE FIRST PHASE" OF 1441.
IF THE SITUATION REACHES A DEADLOCK IN THE VIEW OF THE
INSPECTORS, WHICH WILL BE COMMUNICATED THROUGH A REPORT,
"THEN WE WILL HAVE REACHED THE SECOND PHASE AND SHOULD BEGIN
TO WORK ON A NEW RESOLUTION."

3. (U) HE STATED THERE WAS NO NEED FOR A NEW UNSCR, GIVEN THE
CONTINUED PRESENCE OF INSPECTORS ON THE GROUND. THE FM NOTED
THAT EFFORTS SHOULD BE MADE THROUGH 1441 AS LONG AS THERE IS
PROGRESS, AND THAT THE FIFTEEN MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY
COUNCIL, "NOT ANY ONE COUNTRY" -- HAVE THE FULL
RESPONSIBILITY TO DECIDE THE PATH FORWARD. QUESTIONED ON THE
STATE OF THE FRENCH-AMERICAN RELATIONSHIP, HE NOTED THAT THE
CENTURIES-OLD FRIENDSHIP OF THE TWO NATIONS EXISTS TODAY AND
WOULD EXIST TOMORROW. WHEN ASKED IF FRANCE WOULD COUNTER
THE U.S., ONLY TO JOIN FORCES IN THE END, HE EXPRESSED A
PREFERENCE FOR SOLIDARITY, YET EMPHASIZED ABOVE ALL THE CORE
FUNCTION OF THE UN IN ADDRESSING THE SITUATION. (COMMENT:
VILLEPIN SEEMED ILL AT EASE, SOMEWHAT DEFENSIVE, AND
GENERALLY UNPREPARED TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION AT HAND. HE
EXPLICITLY IGNORED A PARTICULAR (UNIDENTIFIED) JOURNALIST WHO
REPEATEDLY CALLED OUT A QUESTION ABOUT VILLEPIN'S VIEWS OF
WHETHER OR NOT IRAQ WAS IN MATERIAL BREACH. END COMMENT.)

CHINA

4. (U) IN COMMENTS TO THE PRESS WHICH WERE ENTIRELY
CONSISTENT WITH CHINA'S PREVIOUS STATEMENT TO THE COUNCIL,
CHINESE FM TANG WELCOMED SECRETARY POWELL,S INFORMATION AND
EVIDENCE, WHICH HE FOUND CONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF
UNSCR 1441 AND THE NEED FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY. THE
STATEMENT REINFORCED HIS BELIEF THAT THE INSPECTIONS MUST
CONTINUE. HE STRESSED THAT INFORMATION IN THE HANDS OF
MEMBER STATES SHOULD BE HANDED OVER TO THE INSPECTORS. TANG
NOTED THAT IRAQI RESPONSE IS NOW CRITICAL, AND URGED ALL
EFFORTS TO BE FOCUSED ON ENSURING AN IRAQI STATE WITHOUT
WMD. HE NOTED THAT WHILE THERE IS "MUCH TALK OF WAR," CHINA
STILL FAVORS A POLITICAL SOLUTION THROUGH THE SECURITY
COUNCIL NO MATTER HOW LITTLE HOPE FOR PEACE REMAINS, AND WILL
CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TOWARD THIS
END.

GERMANY

5. (U) GERMAN FM FISCHER STATED THAT THE SECRETARY,S
PRESENTATION NEEDED CAREFUL EXAMINATION. REFERRING TO SADDAM
HUSSEIN'S REGIME AS "INHUMANE AND BRUTAL," HE NOTED THAT IRAQ
MUST PROVIDE CLEAR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS RAISED BY BOTH THE
SECRETARY AND DR. BLIX. THE NEXT STEP IN THIS PROCESS WILL
BE THE TRIP BY BLIX AND EL-BARADEI TO IRAQ, FOLLOWED BY AN
UPDATE TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL. FISCHER SAID THE DANGEROUS
CONSEQUENCES OF MILITARY ACTION WERE CLEAR, AND HE ARGUED
THAT INSPECTIONS REQUIRED MORE TIME. INSPECTIONS, HE SAID,
SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED IN ORDER TO "GUARANTEE FULL AND
LASTING DISARMAMENT." HE SAW "THE FRENCH PROPOSAL"
(PRESUMABLY REFERRING TO AUGMENTING THE NUMBER OF INSPECTORS
AND OTHER INSPECTIONS CAPACITY) AS "INTERESTING AND WORTH
CONSIDERATION." IN RESPONSE TO A QUERY ABOUT IRAQ,S ONGOING
DECEPTION OF INSPECTORS, FISCHER CALLED THE INSPECTIONS TEAMS
"VERY IMPORTANT" AND STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED
INSPECTIONS. FISCHER DECLINED TO COMMENT ON WHETHER IRAQ WAS
IN MATERIAL BREACH, TRYING TO SIDESTEP THE QUESTION BY
EXCUSING HIMSELF ON THE GROUNDS THAT HE WAS NOT AN
INTELLIGENCE EXPERT AND THAT "EXPERTS MUST DECIDE." PRESSED
TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS WAS A POLITICAL AND NOT AN INTELLIGENCE
DECISION, FISCHER ALLOWED THAT IT WAS A POLITICAL DECISION
THAT HAD TO BE BASED ON FACT. PRESSED ON PAST ILLEGAL
EXPORTS TO IRAQ BY GERMAN NATIONALS, FISCHER JUDGED SUCH
CASES TO BE "IN THE PAST," NOTING SUBSEQUENT CHANGES IN
GERMAN EXPORT REGULATIONS. HE STATED THAT A STRENGTHENED
INSPECTIONS REGIME WOULD FURTHER HINDER REPETITION OF SUCH
INFRACTIONS. (COMMENT: PERHAPS REFLECTING THE CONVICTION OF
GERMANY'S POSITION, FISCHER'S DELIVERY, PARTICULARLY AS
COMPARED TO VILLEPIN'S, WAS SMOOTH AND DELIBERATE. DESPITE
APPEARING COLLECTED, HE WAS NONETHELESS PUT ON THE DEFENSIVE
BY A NUMBER OF THE TOUGHER QUESTIONS. END COMMENT.)

BULGARIA

6. (U) BULGARIAN FM PASSY OPENED HIS STATEMENT BY SHARING HIS
BELIEF THAT THERE IS STILL A CHANCE FOR A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION
BASED ON PRODUCTIVE COOPERATION. HE ASSERTED THAT, ALTHOUGH
STILL PRESENT, THE "DIFFERENCES" BETWEEN THE U.S. AND SOME
EUROPEAN STATES WERE DECREASING, WHILE THE CHANCES OF FINDING
A SOLUTION UNANIMOUSLY ARE INCREASING. IN RESPONSE TO A
QUERY, HE NOTED THAT A NEW RESOLUTION WAS NOT OUT OF THE
QUESTION. PASSY WAS QUESTIONED ABOUT BULGARIA,S ABSENCE
FROM THE DECLARATION OF EUROPEAN STATES SUPPORTING THE U.S.,
TO WHICH HE RESPONDED BY NOTING HIS NATION,S SUPPORT OF THE
DECLARATION AND STATED THAT BULGARIA JOINS THE COMMON
DEMARCHE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE EU. FM PASSY SAID
SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION CONTAINED "VERY CONVINCING
ARGUMENTS, FOR WMD, FOR TERRORISM, FOR HUMAN RIGHTS" SAYING
HE FELT MORE HOPEFUL NOW THAN HE DID ON HIS FLIGHT FROM
SOFIA. IN CLOSING, HE MENTIONED THAT IRAQ COULD STILL BE
GIVEN ANOTHER CHANCE TO HELP FIND A PEACEFUL SOLUTION.

SYRIA

7. (U) SYRIAN PERMREP WEHBE NOTED THAT HE HAD LISTENED TO
SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION AND WAS PLEASED TO HEAR THE
"PEACEFUL TUNE (SIC)" EXPRESSED BY FISCHER, WHICH CAPTURED
THE FEELING OF "MOST MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL." HE STRESSED
THAT THE COUNCIL MUST BE THE CENTER OF ANY SOLUTION AND THIS
SOLUTION MUST BE FOCUSED ON PEACEFUL MEANS. HE URGED THAT
ALL OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY SECRETARY POWELL BE GIVEN
TO IAEA AND UNMOVIC FOR ANALYSIS. WEHBE NOTED THAT MANY
MINISTERS ELABORATED ON THE "DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCES" WAR
WOULD HAVE ON THE IRAQI PEOPLE AND THE REGION, AND STATED
THAT WAR WOULD REPRESENT A FAILURE BY THE COUNCIL AND THE
WORLD ORDER TO RESPECT THE PRINCIPLES OF THE UN CHARTER. HE
SAID THAT IRAQ SHOULD COOPERATE FULLY AND PROACTIVELY, NOTING
STATEMENTS BY HIGH LEVEL IRAQI OFFICIALS ACKNOWLEDGING THAT
THEY WERE "VERY READY TO COOPERATE," AS WELL AS THEIR
INVITATION TO HAVE BLIX AND EL-BARADEI BACK TO BAGHDAD ON 8
FEBRUARY. HE ALSO NOTED THAT HE HAD NOT HEARD, "BEFORE OR
NOW," OF A LINK BETWEEN IRAQ AND "SO-CALLED" TERRORIST
ORGANIZATIONS. HE CITED "A NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE TWO DAYS
AGO THAT WE ALL HAVE SEEN" THAT SHOWED THE U.S. LACKED
EVIDENCE LINKING IRAQ TO TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS. HE ALSO
ASSERTED THAT A UK STATEMENT FROM FEBRUARY 5 ACKNOWLEDGED THE
ABSENCE OF INTELLIGENCE LINKING IRAQ TO TERRORISM. WHEN
ASKED IF IRAQ WAS CURRENTLY IN MATERIAL BREACH, WEHBE SIMPLY
WALKED AWAY FROM THE PODIUM.

IRAQ

8. (U) IRAQI PERMREP AL-DOURI ARRIVED WITH A PREPARED
STATEMENT. HE REMARKED THAT SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION
DID NOT ACHIEVE ITS INTENDED RESULTS. HE STATED THAT COUNCIL
MEMBERS HAD MADE CLEAR THAT ANY INFORMATION SHOULD BE
PROVIDED TO THE INSPECTORS AND THAT THE INSPECTIONS ARE
SUCCESSFUL AND WORKING. FOR THIS REASON, HE CONTINUED, OTHER
MEANS TO DISARM THEM SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. HE CALLED
SECRETARY POWELL,S PRESENTATION "A SET OF ACCUSATIONS EASILY
REFUTED," AND IN CLOSING SAID THAT IRAQ WOULD CONTINUE WITH
THE INSPECTIONS IN A PROACTIVE MANNER. (COMMENT: AL-DOURI
WAS FAIRLY CUT AND DRIED, DEFLECTING PRESS INTEREST BY
TELLING THE ASSEMBLED STAKEOUT TO WATCH THE LIVE PRESS FEED
FROM BAGHDAD LATER IN THE AFTERNOON. END COMMENT.)


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