News


Tracking Number:  174022

Title:  "Unarmed Iraqi Troops May Retreat Safely." US Ambassador Thomas Pickering's statement to a formal closed session of the UN Security Council. (910226)

Translated Title:  "Les Soldates Irakiens Non Armes Peuvent Se Retirer." (910226)
Date:  19910226

Text:
*TXT205

02/26/91 1Ne Tx UNARMED IRAQI TROOPS MAY RETREAT SAFELY (Transcript: Pickering February 25 statement) (920)

United Nations -- The United States will not attack Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait who have laid down their arms, but it will use force against those "moving as a combat unit" with their equipment intact, says Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Pickering February 25 told a formal closed session of the United Nations Security Council discussing Saddam Hussein's statement that Iraqi forces allegedly will withdraw from Kuwait that "our primary concern continues to be, of course, the safety of our own forces and the forces of the coalition."

Noting U.S. skepticism about the Saddam Hussein statement, he pointed out that "Iraq, as we all know, has tended to use these statements from time to time as methods of propaganda in a duplicitous fashion and in some cases as ruses of war," as occurred several weeks ago at the Saudi border town of Khafji.

"We have also made it very clear that we have not rejected anything," Pickering made clear. "We are anxious to have in fact a serious proposal put forward by the government of Iraq."

Following is a transcript of Pickering's remarks:

(begin transcript)

Mr. Pickering (United States of America); I thank my Soviet colleague for having brought us this message this evening.

I want to begin my few remarks tonight by noting that within the past half hour my Government in Washington has reacted to the announcement which we all heard some hours earlier from Baghdad Radio relating to a somewhat similar development. In that regard, I should like to point out that the United States has made it clear that up to this point we continue to prosecute our efforts to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, using the military force authorized by the Council.

At this stage we see no reason to change that approach. Our primary concern continues to be, of course, the safety of our own forces and the forces of the coalition. We made it clear that we had heard the Radio Baghdad report, but,

GE 2 TXT205 first and foremost, we have no way of knowing whether indeed it was a true report. We seem to have heard a slightly different, perhaps somewhat more optimistic, report this evening, but we have seen on the ground -- and I am sorry to say this -- no evidence of an Iraqi withdrawal.

Iraq, as we all know, has tended to use these statements from time to time as methods of propaganda in a duplicitous fashion and in some cases as ruses of war. We recall the arrival of the Iraqi tanks just some weeks ago at Khafji, when the tanks approached the coalition positions in an attitude of surrender but then immediately turned their gun turrets and did battle.

We are also facing continuing attacks by Scuds, which have today unfortunately taken their highest toll in human life -- some 22 American citizens and perhaps, unfortunately, more.

We also noted the fact that we understand that Saddam Hussein has declared that his forces will fight their way out of Kuwait. We have made it very clear that we have no intention of attacking retreating forces. But such forces should certainly lay down their arms and leave. If they are moving as a combat unit with combat equipment, then in our view they are still subject to the rules of war.

We have also made it very clear that we have not rejected anything. We are anxious to have in fact a serious proposal put forward by the Government of Iraq. I sit here tonight and look around this Chamber and notice one startling peculiarity: there is a seat at the end of the table with the nameplate of a country in which we have the most serious interest, and yet -- maybe because of the exigencies of the moment, because of the rapidity with which we are meeting, maybe in fact because of the thesis that the actions of the Council have no representative of Iraq; I legitimacy, no legality, in the absence of the permanent representative of Iraq; I do not know -- whatever the reason may be, we have something here that may speak louder than words, in the absence of a clear position stated before the Council by the Government of Iraq in the person of the permanent representative of that country, who is here in this town. I would hope he would come. I would hope he would tell us what his position is, as we have asked. We should like to hear from Saddam Hussein personally and publicly what his position is with respect to this latest step.

As I have said, we have been subjected to many duplicitous statements in the past. I assure you, Mr. President, that I am ready to come back. If the representative of Iraq is ready to attend; I am ready to stay here on call, ready for whatever you might think is the appropriate way to receive the answer. I would hope that the answer is

GE 3 TXT205 ringingly positive and fully supportive of the resolutions of the Security Council.

We ask no more than that Iraq make clear to us -- whenever it is ready but, hopefully, much sooner rather than later - - that it is prepared to accept the resolutions of the Security Council and that it is prepared to accept the method of implementation contained in the statement of the coalition partners made on their behalf by President Bush on 22 February.

(end transcript) NNNN


File Identification:  02/26/91, TX-205; 02/26/91, AE-206; 02/26/91, AR-233; 02/26/91, EP-208; 02/26/91, EU-208; 02/26/91, NE-209; 02/27/91, AF-304
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  French
Keywords:  PICKERING, THOMAS/Speaker; UNITED NATIONS-SECURITY COUNCIL; MILITARY STRATEGY; OPERATION DESERT STORM; IRAQ/Defense & Military
Document Type:  TXT
Thematic Codes:  1NE; 1UN
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  174022; 174216