UN Security Council: We have a solution to the war of frustration
Iraq, Politics, 11/15/1998
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan summed up the sentiment and conclusion of the UN Security Council this evening saying "The international community has unanimously expressed the hope for a satisfactory diplomatic solution to the present crisis. It appears that this outcome has now been achieved."
This comes late in the day after the US announced acceptance of Iraq's resending its decision to stop cooperating with the UN.
Annan added "In common with many members of the security council, I am grateful for President Clinton for the courageous and difficult decision he took earlier today. This is a victory for all those who express the affirm determination that UN Security Council resolutions must be respected. It is a victory for diplomacy and resolve. For the crisis to be put permanently behind us, Iraq must move swiftly to insure complete and unconditional compliance. That is the best way towards the lifting of the sanctions and a better life for the people of Iraq."
Annan said "I cannot give you any guarantee that this agreement will work... I sincerely hope that there will not be a next time.. and I am not sure if there is a next time, we would even have time for further diplomatic initiatives and appeals."
Annan said UNSCOM's chief Richard Butler "is ready to send them (inspectors) back as soon as practicable....because the member states believe and I agree with them, the only way to test the agreement is on the ground... and start doing their work."
Richard Butler assured early in the week that it would not take more than two months to close the nuclear file, two months for the chemical file, and two months for the biological file if Iraq cooperates. Previous Butler has given even shorter times for finishing his work if Iraq cooperates. This is in essence what the US wanted.
But Iraq seems to have received what it wanted too in terms of a comprehensive sanctions review, a point that Iraq had said is the cause of the current and previous crisis. Annan said a comprehensive sanctions review will be forthcoming "as soon as the council is certain that Iraq is cooperating effectively on the ground, that need not take very long."
The US representative on the UN Security Council, who is also the President of the council for the month of November, Peter Burleigh read the final statement of the council on this matter. He said "Council members expressed support for a full, immediate, and effective implementation of the humanitarian program in Iraq. Council members reaffirmed their readiness to proceed with a comprehensive review once the Secretary General has confirmed on the basis of reports from the special commission and the IAEA (atomic agency) that Iraq has returned to full cooperation on the basis of resolution 1194 and the Council President's letter of 30 October to the Secretary General. Finally the Security Council remain actively seized of the matter."
Burleigh said "Iraq's cooperation with the special commision and IAEA will allow the return of inspectors to resume all their activities on an immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted basis." He added that "Council members underlined that their confidence in Iraq's intentions needs to be established by unconditional and sustained cooperation with the Special Commision and the IAEA in exercizing the full range of their activities provided for in their mandates."
Inspections of Iraqi sites are to commence shortly and in accordance with previous resolutions and the "Memorandum Of Understanding" signed during the previous crisis between Secretary General Annan and Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.
It is not clear if this is the final act in this crisis, but the two fundamental stumbling blocks that were the causes of these crisis seem to have been addressed by this statement of the Security Council. The US goal was realized: that sanctions cannot be removed while Iraq maintains its capabilities to develop and deploy weapons of mass destruction, a point that has been in great doubt by the Iraqis as to the sincerity of the Americans to see the sanctions lifted, even with Iraqi compliance. The Iraqi goal has been realized: that the sanctions will be reviewed and thus removed if they comply, a point that has been in great doubt by the Americans as to the sincerity of the Iraqis to see Iraq disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. Secretary General Annan referred to this as a "war of frustration" where both the US and Iraq do not trust each others' commitment to the goals stated in their public statements.
The US had previously stated publicly that it does not want to see the sanctions lifted of Iraq, but lately said that Iraq cannot have two goals: succeed in lifting the sanctions while at the same time keeping its weapons. Whether that constitutes a true statement of US policy will be found if Iraq complies, and by how long a period the US chooses to interpret the period of time "need not take very long (before a sanctions review takes place)" stated by Annan, and that of the Security Council described as "sustained cooperation."
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Elements of the solution to the Iraqi crisis
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