Iraq's Sahaf reiterates Iraqi inspection proposal
Iraq-Egypt, International, 2/14/1998
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa confirmed that discussions of the current Iraqi crisis include opening all the disputed "presidential sites" to be inspected within a specified period of time, referring to the necessity of respecting the protocols of international law.
In a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Mohammed Said al-Sahaf, at the Foreign Ministry's headquarters, Moussa answered questions about whether Iraq can avert a military strike and if a diplomatic solution can be reached for the crisis, saying: "Actually I can't answer now with 'No' or 'Yes' because the matters are still developing and there is not any development toward a final situation."
Concerning the problem of the United Nations special commission (UNSCOM), Moussa said the real problem now is confined to the structure, composition and the role of the inspection committee.
Moussa expressed that political efforts will continue, and that there is hope a military strike against Iraq can be averted.
Concerning Arab League Secretary-General Esmat Abdel Meguid's visit to Iraq, Moussa said: "Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid, the secretary-general of the Arab League, has spoken on behalf of all the countries to the Iraqi president."
Meguid's visit to Iraq coincided with a Russian and French initiative supported by all Arab states, but there's no Arab mediation concerning the approval of the Iraqi suggestion said Moussa. Regarding whether the current UN inspection team will work under its current chief inspector Richard Butler, Moussa said that Butler and his inspection team will be members on the suggested committees that would be doing the inspections.
The inspection of the other sites continues without any problem in Iraq.
Sahaf, Iraq's Foreign Minister, expressed his readiness to open all the sites referred to for inspection by an international team that would be formed by the secretary-general of United Nations.
Sahaf said a two-month period of inspection would be enough if the team began its work according to the Iraqi proposal. He also confirmed that his country wants to be cleared of the charges directed at Iraq concerning the hiding of chemical and biological weapons.
Al-Sahaf, who left to Amman for talks and consultations with Jordanian officials, described his talks in Cairo and Damascus as fruitful and useful, because it will encourage the United States to focus on diplomacy.
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