World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN, Iraq end two days of talks on inspectors

UN, Iraq end two days of talks on practical arrangements for return of inspectors

1 October – The United Nations and Iraq today wrapped up two days of talks in Vienna on the practical arrangements needed to facilitate the return of UN weapons inspectors to the country after a nearly four-year absence.

Saying the discussions were held in a "business-like and focused manner," Hans Blix, the Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), told reporters that Baghdad "accepts all the rights of inspection provided for in all the relevant Security Council resolutions."

Specifically, Mr. Blix said the talks "clarified that all sites are subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access; however, the memorandum of understanding of 1998 establishes special procedures for access to eight presidential sites."

Questioned about objections by the United States and United Kingdom to preconditions regarding presidential compounds, Mr. Blix noted that the memorandum of understanding had been endorsed by the Security Council. [By its resolution 1154, adopted in March 1998, the Council commended the Secretary-General's initiative to secure commitments from Iraq on compliance with its obligations under the relevant resolutions, and endorsed the memorandum of understanding.]

"We are not changing the law that is adopted by the United Nations," Mr. Blix said. "The Security Council can take measures that they would like; we are a subsidiary organ of the Security Council and we will be bound by them."

The UNMOVIC chief noted that some past practical arrangements would be modified. "For improved efficiency, airplanes used by inspection staff arriving in Baghdad will land at Saddam International Airport rather than at Habbaniya, which is some 80 kilometres from Baghdad," he said. At the same time, he noted that "many practical arrangements followed between 1991 and 1998 remain viable and useful and could be applied."

On the question of the use of fixed-wing planes, as well as helicopters for inspection, the delegation from Baghdad declared that Iraq would take all steps within its control to ensure the safety of inspection air operations, but declined to provide full guarantees about safety in the no-fly zones, Mr. Blix added.

He also reported that the Iraqi delegation had handed over four CD-ROMs containing the backlog of semi-annual monitoring declarations for the sites and items covered by the ongoing monitoring and verification plans for June 1998 to July 2002.

Asked if he was afraid that resumed inspections would suffer the same failures of the past, Mr. Blix disputed the premise of the question. "Everybody recognizes that under the old inspection regime, more weapons of mass destruction were destroyed than during the Gulf War." At the same time, he acknowledged "severe shortcomings" and said doubts persisted about whether Iraq still retained weapons of mass destruction.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) added that the IAEA and UNMOVIC now had assurances from the Iraqi side of unconditional access to all sites in Iraq, with the exception of the presidential sites. "That of course has to be tested when we go back to Iraq," he said.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>

UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>