Blix, leader of UN weapons inspection team opposes US position

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Oct 2002 14:36:59 +0100

Powell Says U.N. Ought to Hold Up Iraq Inspections 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — Hours after Iraq agreed with United Nations
officials that weapons inspectors could return in two weeks, Secretary
of State Colin L. Powell said tonight that any search of Saddam
Hussein's arsenals should be delayed until the Security Council approves
a "new, strong, tough resolution" setting terms. 

"We will not be satisfied with Iraqi half-truths or Iraqi compromises or
Iraqi efforts to get us back into the same swamp that they took the
United Nations into" in the past, Secretary Powell said at a hastily
called news conference at the State Department as the Bush
administration scrambled to salvage its push for a new United Nations

After two days of meetings with an Iraqi delegation in Vienna, Hans
Blix, the leader of the United Nations weapons inspection team, said,
"There is a willingness to accept inspections that has not existed

Iraqi officials agreed to allow the inspectors to do their work under
the terms of existing Security Council resolutions, but did not respond
to American demands for access to palaces and other tough new provisions
that Washington wants. 

The Iraqi strategy was apparently an appeal to France, Russia and China,
all of whom hold vetoes on the Council and have expressed wariness of
the desire of the United States and Britain for a new resolution
threatening military action if Iraq does not disarm. 

In the face of such reservations, the Americans and British delayed
presenting the formal draft of a new resolution to the Security Council
today as they had planned. Instead, Secretary Powell said the
administration would work "over the next couple of weeks" to get a new

The draft resolution prepared by the United States and Britain would
make the inspectors' mandate far more intrusive. [Excerpts, Page A12.] 

That mandate would include creating no-flight and no-drive zones
protected by United Nations or United States security forces along the
routes that the inspectors would travel, according to extensive excerpts
obtained by The New York Times. The proposal also calls for the
inspectors to be guarded by "sufficient United Nations security forces"
for their protection. It would expand the presence of United Nations or
American security forces on the ground or in the skies over Iraq even
while the inspections were under way, in advance of any military strike
if Iraq failed to comply with the Council's terms. 

In a sharply worded diplomatic challenge, Secretary Powell said tonight
that the United States would resist any inspections until the Security
Council provided stringent new instructions. 

"Dr. Blix, as an agent of the Security Council, will carry out what the
Security Council instructs him to do," Secretary Powell said. 

He added: "It was up to Dr. Blix to work out certain technical details
and modalities, which is what he did. But as Dr. Blix made clear, the
only discussion he could have was on the basis of the old resolutions.
But we have made it clear that those old resolutions are what got us in
trouble in the first place." 

Secretary Powell said there had been "some progress" on a new resolution
with Russia, China and France. 

"We have heard some strong views coming back from some of our partners,"
he said, adding, "I think there's an understanding that we have to deal
with this now and not next year, and to deal with it now, you need to
have the strongest resolution we can come up with, and we have to have
consequences associated with continued violation." 

In a meeting at the United Nations today with China, France and Russia,
the other three veto-bearing members of the Council, American and
British diplomats discussed "concepts" in the draft, diplomats said, but
did not bring a text for negotiation, as they had said they would on
Monday. The United States also did not follow through on its offer on
Monday to provide informal copies of the draft to the 10 nonpermanent
members of the Council. 

The United States and Britain moved to slow the pace of the discussions
after the three other permanent members remained adamant in their
opposition to the American proposal for a resolution authorizing a
unilateral military attack by the United States and any ally if
Washington determined that Iraq had made even minor violations. American
envoys provided the text to the three other permanent nations in their
capitals over the weekend. 

"The United States is in a negotiating mood because they realized they
are not going to get what they want by bending arms," one Council
diplomat said. "They might have to adjust themselves to the Security
Council. They cannot say from the outset: take it or leave it." 

Still, a senior State Department official said today that the United
States would go into "thwart mode" if Mr. Blix sought to return to Iraq
without fresh instructions. 

Secretary Powell appeared in the State Department briefing room on a few
minutes' warning, just in time for evening news broadcasts, apparently
in an effort to counter Mr. Blix's optimistic-sounding announcement and
to make it clear that the United States would keep up pressure for a new

"The Iraqis made some concessions," he said of the talks with Mr. Blix,
but added: "In other areas, they made no concessions. It was the same
old, the same old stuff. And so we want to have a fuller discussion with
Dr. Blix to see what he thinks was accomplished. 

"But we have made it clear that we do not believe the inspection regime
that existed previously is adequate to the demands of the day and
adequate to the challenge we're facing right now with continued Iraqi

Other Security Council members sought to capitalize on the announcement
from Vienna to build support for their approach. French diplomats hope
to attract support for their proposal for two stages: a first resolution
to establish a toughened regime for the weapons inspections and a second
resolution authorizing military force if Iraq fails to allow
unrestricted inspections. 

Secretary Powell said, "We're pressing forward on a one-resolution
solution," but he added, "We will see which argument prevails." 

Mr. Bush himself seemed to soften his tone about military action against
Iraq today, saying he was open to compromises with both Congress and the
United Nations as long as both passed "tough" resolutions that did not
tie his hands. 

Many Council nations regarded the forceful inspection regime proposed in
the American and British draft as too aggressive for Iraq to accept. In
addition to allowing American fighter planes and security forces greater
access to Iraqi airspace, the proposal cancels all the exemptions the
United Nations had agreed with Iraq before 1998 for inspections of
presidential compounds and other "sensitive sites." 

The Council majority is also reluctant to endorse the hair trigger that
the United States proposes. Any errors in a "currently accurate, full
and complete declaration of all aspects" of its programs to develop
weapons of mass destruction, or "failure by Iraq at any time to comply
and cooperate fully," would constitute "a further material breach . . .
that authorizes member states to use all necessary means to restore
international peace and security in the area." 

The draft would allow the United States to place its own inspectors on
the United Nations weapons team. Several Council diplomats observed that
this demand ran counter to a recent reform of the weapons teams by the
Security Council, when they were reorganized to rely on an international
staff of arms professionals rather than experts provided by individual

The reform followed the disclosure that a United States spy on the
United Nations team had planted an electronic eavesdropping device in
Baghdad that helped guide allied bombing in December 1998. 

The draft also demands the names of all Iraqi weapons personnel. 
Source: New York Times 

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