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Straw : Iraq Is In Material Breach of Resolution 1441

Straw : Iraq Is In Material Breach of Resolution 1441

Source: FCO, London. January 28, 2003.

The report which the Chief Weapons Inspector, Dr Hans Blix, gave to the United Nations Security Council yesterday is damning and disturbing. It shows beyond doubt that the Iraqi regime is responding to Resolution 1441, not with active cooperation, but with a consistent pattern of concealment and deceit. Dr El-Baradei also says in his report that there has to be a shift by the Iraqi regime from passive support to pro-active cooperation. Dr Blix has listed a number of questions which Saddam Hussein has failed to answer. The onus is now on Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime to answer those questions, not with bluster and delay, not with evasion, but with credible evidence that Iraq's terribly weaponry either has been destroyed, or will be destroyed, in full and active cooperation with the United Nations inspectors. And the infrastructure behind this weaponry must also go.

Saddam Hussein must answer these questions very promptly indeed. He has not just wasted 60 days since inspections began, but 600 weeks since the first of the many Security Council resolutions which he has flouted. Minor concessions, dragged reluctantly from the Iraqi regime, simply will not do.

It is now clear what exactly Saddam Hussein has been working so hard to conceal. The world can now see the pattern of non-cooperation by which he hides his weapons, his poisons, his diseases. I am today publishing a list of 10 key questions from Dr Blix's report so that the British public is able to judge for itself.

Amongst these questions:

How does Iraq account for 6,500 missing bombs which could carry up to 1,000 tons of deadly chemical agent?

What is Saddam Hussein's answer to Dr Blix's charge that Iraq may have retained anthrax, and separately, have weaponised the deadly VX nerve agent, and that the inspectors have found mustard gas precursor?

Why has Saddam Hussein been testing missiles with a range beyond the 150 kilometres permitted by the United Nations resolutions?

How will Saddam Hussein address Dr Blix's concerns that the chemical rocket warheads unearthed by inspectors could be 'the tip of a submerged iceberg'?

These questions, raised by Dr Blix, point to a persistent programme to equip the world's most aggressive rogue state with some of the deadliest weapons known to man.

The United Nations is now facing a fundamental challenge to its authority. Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1441 passed last November lays down two tests: that false statements or omissions in Iraq's declaration and failure by Iraq to comply at any time with, and to cooperate fully in, the implementation of this resolution shall constitute a further material breach. Iraq has failed both tests.

The conclusion is now inescapable that Iraq is in material breach of Resolution 1441. But I also say this, that war is not inevitable. We want to see this matter resolved, as we always have done, by peaceful means. But the responsibility to avoid conflict, as the responsibility for compliance, rests with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime, and they alone. No country can be disarmed peacefully by guesswork and by game playing. This can be done only with Iraq's active cooperation. The regime does not have long to change its behaviour fundamentally. We cannot let Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime get away with never-ending deceit and delay.

Ten questions Iraq must answer

- 1. Co-operation

Blix: 'Co-operation might be said to relate to both substance and process. It would appear from our experience so far that Iraq has decided in principle to provide co-operation on process, notably access. A similar decision is indispensable to provide co-operation on substance in order to bring the disarmament tasks to completion through the peaceful process of inspection and to bring the monitoring task on a firm course.'

  • Will Iraq now provide co-operation on substance?

2. U2 Plane

Blix: 'Iraq has refused to guarantee its safety, unless a number of conditions are fulfilled… we note that Iraq is not so far complying with our request.'

  • Will Iraq now agree to U2 flights on UN terms?

3. Harassment

Blix: 'I am obliged to note some disturbing incidents…'

  • Will Iraq now end all harassment of inspectors?

4. VX

Blix: 'There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilisation and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared.

There are also indications that the agent was weaponised'.

  • Will Iraq now either provide evidence of the destruction of its VX or co-operate fully with its destruction?

5. Chemical Bombs and Rockets

Blix: 'The document indicates that 13,000 chemical bombs were dropped by the Iraqi Air Force between 1983 and 1988, while Iraq has declared that 19,500 bombs were consumed during this period. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 6,500 bombs.

'The amount of chemical agent in these bombs would be in the order of about 1,000 tonnes. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for.

'The discovery of a number of 122 mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicised. This was a relatively new bunker and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions.

They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg.'

  • Will Iraq now account for all its chemical bombs and rockets?

6. Mustard Gas

Blix: 'Inspectors have found at another site a laboratory quantity of Thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor.'

  • Will Iraq now credibly explain the purpose of this precursor chemical?

7. Anthrax

Blix: 'There are strong indications that Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared (8,500 litres), and that at least some of this was retained after the declared destruction date. It might still exist.

Iraq did not declare a significant quantity, some 650 kg, of bacterial growth media, which was acknowledged as imported in Iraq’s submission to the Amorim panel in February 1999.

I note that the quantity of media involved would suffice to produce, for example, about 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax.'

  • Will Iraq now provide the evidence that it destroyed its anthrax or cooperate fully with its
  • destruction?

8. Missiles

Blix: 'There has been a range of developments in the missile field during the past four years presented by Iraq as non-proscribed activities.

They are the development of a liquid-fuelled missile named the Al Samoud 2, and a solid propellant missile, called the Al Fatah.

These missiles might well represent prima facie cases of proscribed systems. The test ranges in excess of 150 km are significant.'

  • Will Iraq now account for the extended range of its missiles?

9. Documents

Blix: 'The recent inspection find in the private home of a scientist of a box of some 3,000 pages of documents, much of it relating to the laser enrichment of uranium support a concern that has long existed that documents might be distributed to the homes of private individuals.

'We cannot help but think that the case might not be isolated and that such placements of documents is deliberate to make discovery difficult and to seek to shield documents by placing them in private homes.

Any further sign of the concealment of documents would be serious.'

  • Will Iraq now produce all documents from their places of hiding?

10. Interviews

Blix: 'To date, 11 individuals were asked for interviews in Baghdad by us.

'The replies have invariably been that the individual will only speak at Iraq’s monitoring directorate or, at any rate, in the presence of an Iraqi official. This could be due to a wish on the part of the invited to have evidence that they have not said anything that the authorities did not wish them to say. At our recent talks in Baghdad, the Iraqi side committed itself to encourage persons to accept interviews 'in private', that is to say alone with us. Despite this, the pattern has not changed.'

  • Will Iraq now actively provide interviews on UN terms?

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).