Cablegate: Security Council Votes to Terminate Unmovic

DE RUCNDT #0549/01 1842041
P 032041Z JUL 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 90875

1. (U) Summary: The Security Council voted June 29 in
support of the U.S.-UK resolution to terminate the mandates
of UNMOVIC and the IAEA's Iraq Nuclear Verification Office,
with 14 members voting in favor and one abstention (Russia).
Russian PermRep Churkin attributed Russia's abstention to the
fact that the sponsors did not respond affirmatively to the
Russian request to submit to the Security Council "those
elements of the Duelfer report of the Iraq Survey Group that
relate to UNMOVIC's mandate with regard to certification of
the international process." (Note: Russia had requested
transmission of the classified portions of the Duelfer
report. End Note.) UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Demetrius
Perricos observed there could not be "complete certainty"
that disarmament had been achieved, while the IAEA's New York
representative Gustavo Zlauvinem cited a 2003 IAEA report
that concluded the agency had found no evidence of a revival
of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq. Representatives from
the U.S., UK, Qatar, France, South Africa, and Indonesia made
statements. Iraqi PermRep Hamid Al-Bayati also spoke to the
Council and reconfirmed Iraq's commitment to nonproliferation.


2. (U) Based on a Russian request and as a vehicle to
finally terminate UNMOVIC without a written "final report,"
UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Perricos and IAEA New York
representative Zlauvinem provided statements to the Council
June 29 summarizing the disarmament efforts in Iraq of these
specialized bodies since 1991. Perricos reported that --
from the period November 27, 2002 to March 17, 2003 --
UNMOVIC conducted 731 inspections in Iraq and "did not find
evidence of the continuation or resumption of programs of WMD
or significant quantities of proscribed items from before the
adoption of Resolution 687." But Perricos claimed that a
number of disarmament issues remain unresolved. First, he
said, the whereabouts of 7,900 pieces of equipment which were
in certain sites in Iraq prior to March 2003 and have
dual-use purposes is still unknown. Second, he reported that
UNMOVIC could not provide assurances that all documents and
books describing fabrication processes, also known as
"cookbooks," have been secured or destroyed. Third, he
stated that UNMOVIC does not have knowledge of the
whereabouts of materials and items stored in a chemical
munitions bunker that was part of a Hand-Over Protocol signed
in 1994 between UNSCOM and Iraq. Last, he observed that the
capabilities and know-how for weapons programs still exist in
the minds of the scientists and technicians who worked on
them, and such knowledge cannot be fully secured and
guaranteed. Thus, Perricos concluded, the possibility of
non-state actors getting their hands on chemical and other
toxic weapons is real.

3. (U) Yet Perricos also admitted that it is "widely
accepted that there can be no complete certainty that
disarmament is fully achieved in a country," adding that on a
number of occasions he and Dr. Blix had referred to the
"unavoidable residue of uncertainty." In his statement,
Perricos also detailed the extent of Iraq's weapons programs
under Saddam Hussein.


4. (U) Mr. Gustavo Zlauvinem, the IAEA's representative to
the UN, recalled the IAEA's conclusion reported in March 2003
that it had found no evidence of a revival of Iraq's nuclear
weapons program by the time the agency left the county in
2003. He said that when the security situation permits, and
with the cooperation of the Government of Iraq, the IAEA will
be able "to provide assurances of the non-diversion of
declared nuclear material and the absence of undeclared
nuclear materials and activities in Iraq."


5. (U) As pre-arranged and drawing from reftel, Ambassador
Khalilzad delivered the U.S. statement covering the period
from 2003 to the present. He recalled the comprehensive
efforts of the Iraq Survey Group, and confirmed that the
U.S., UK, and other members of the MNF-I have "taken all
appropriate steps to investigate each credible report of the
presence of weapons of mass destruction or their delivery
systems in Iraq." He noted MNF continues to discover
residual abandoned stocks of munitions which are handled
appropriately in coordination with the Government of Iraq.
Ambassador Khalilzad noted that the report of the Iraq Survey

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Group confirmed that Saddam Hussein had intentions to develop
WMD as soon as UN sanctions were lifted, the fact that he
maintained a break out capacity that would have enabled rapid
production of chemical and biological weapons, and the fact
that he repeatedly made false reports to UN inspectors of WMD
programs. Ambassador Khalilzad concluded, "Iraq is no longer
a country that has any political intent or military plan to
utilize such terrible weapons."


6. (U) UK PermRep Jones Perry welcomed the Government of
Iraq's "constitutional commitment" to nonproliferation and
international disarmament regimes. Jones Perry noted that
UNMOVIC and the IAEA's Nuclear Verification Office have not
been able to carry out their functions for some time. He
said in terminating the mandates, "we are not closing the
file on WMD in Iraq, but we are changing the approach."


7. (U) Qatari DPR Al-Bader noted that since the adoption of
resolution 1284 in 1999 establishing UNMOVIC, the situation
in Iraq has changed considerably. He agreed there was no
longer a need for UNMOVIC to remain in Iraq, and expressed
satisfaction that at last this difficult file could be
closed, as significant time and resources have been dedicated
to this issue. He said it was clear Iraq had no WMD, and
expressed hope that the Middle East as a region will be free
of WMD, including Israel.


8. (U) French PermRep Jean-Marc de La Sabliere praised the
Government of Iraq for seeking to "shoulder its
responsibility" to uphold the nonproliferation regime. In
expressing French support for the resolution, he noted the
Government of Iraq's request to close UNMOVIC and its
commitment not to develop WMD. He also took note of the
statements from the U.S. and U.K. regarding the steps taken
by Iraq since 2003 to ensure that there were no WMD in the


9. (U) Iraqi PermRep Hamid Al-Bayati noted that Perricos's
statement had focused on Iraq's past. By contrast, he said,
the Government of Iraq is concentrating on the present and
future. He said today would mark the closure of an important
chapter in Iraq's modern history. Iraq's people paid a heavy
price for Saddam Hussein's refusal to abide by UN
resolutions: lives were lost, tremendous resources were
spent, and Iraq's infrastructure was destroyed. He noted
Iraq was constitutionally bound to the non-proliferation
regime, explaining that the government considers its
international treaties to be national commitments. (The full
text of his statement e-mailed to the Department.) He
concluded, "The Iraqi people who suffered from the regime's
brutal practices should not be held responsible."

South Africa

10. (U) South African PermRep Kumalo, referring to UNSCR
687, recalled that the issue of Iraqi disarmament was
originally linked to regional disarmament and the effort to
create a Middle East zone free of proliferation and WMD. He
said the resolution under consideration did not adequately
describe what would happen to nuclear material or technical
expertise. Though South Africa would vote in favor of the
resolution to terminate the mandates, he maintained it would
have been preferable to close UNMOVIC on the basis of a UN


11. (U) Indonesian DPR Kleib began by saying it was clear
UNMOVIC was no longer needed due to the new Government of
Iraq's commitment to nonproliferation. Even though not all
the work had been completed, he said he understood the
difficulty of verifying all remaining Saddam-era missiles. He
expressed hope that the remaining disarmament issues would be
resolved, including the early accession by Iraq's Government
to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

USUN NEW Y 00000549 003 OF 003


12. (U) After the vote, Russian PermRep Vitaly Churkin
delivered Russia's statement, attributing Russia's abstention
to the fact that there had been no official certification by
UNMOVIC that Iraq is free of WMD, suggesting such
certification was not possible because UNMOVIC had not had
access to the complete report of the Iraq Survey Group.
Moreover, he claimed, the resolution did not address the fate
of existing weapons, including the issue of stockpiles and
dual-use equipment.


13. (U) Chinese representative Li Kexin commended the
integrity and professionalism of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, saying
their work had shown a dedication to the "pursuit of truth"
that would "withstand the test of history." He said the
situation in Iraq had undergone tremendous changes since
UNMOVIC first started its work. He emphasized in supporting
the resolution, China was responding to the Government of
Iraq's request to end UNMOVIC, and said Iraq's commitment to
nonproliferation had allowed Iraq to gain a position in the
international community. He said China hoped Iraq's efforts
would facilitate the building of mutual trust in the region
and contribute to greater peace in the Middle East.


14. (SBU) This was a day long in coming for both Iraq and
the Security Council. Council members had agreed for at
least two years that UNMOVIC no longer had a role in Iraq,
but Executive Chairman Perricos actively lobbied to keep
alive his organization and to arrange some future role for
its personnel. Given past animosity about the issue of WMD
in Iraq, this close-out -- with no final inspection or report
-- went as smoothly as we could have hoped for. We will need
to carefully monitor the disposition of UNMOVIC archives and
equipment over the next months, however.

© Scoop Media

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