News


Tracking Number:  188530

Title:  "Iraq Seeks to Acquire Nuclear Weapons, US Says." Ambassador Watson's remarks to the UN Security Council. (910627)

Date:  19910627

Text:
*TXT405

06/27/91 HIRAQ SEEKS TO ACQUIRE NUCLEAR WEAPONS, U.S. SAYS SH(Text: Watson June 26 Security Council remarks) (1410)

TUnited Nations -- The United States told the U.N. Security Council June 26 it has "indisputable evidence, drawn from many sources, that Iraq has been seeking to produce unsafeguarded nuclear material and to acquire nuclear weapons."

Alexander Watson, acting permanent representative to the United Nations, said the Security Council must reiterate its determination to ensure that Iraq complies "fully with all of the provisions of U.N. Resolution 687, including its nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and ballistic missile provisions."

Following is the text of Watson's remarks, as prepared for delivery:

(begin text)

TMr. President, my delegation appreciates very much the secretary general's letter of this morning enclosing the shocking reports from Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, the executive chairman of the Special Commission, and Dr. Hans Blix, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, concerning the treatment accorded to the IAEA/Special Commission nuclear inspection team by the government of Iraq over the last five days.

These reports indicate incontrovertibly that the government of Iraq has obstructed the work of the inspection team in carrying out the mandate to implement the destruction, removal or rendering useless of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The members of the Security Council have also seen other evidence which confirms fully the findings presented by Ambassador Ekeus and Dr. Blix.

It is patently clear that Iraq is engaged in nuclear deception.

The United States is deeply dismayed by the Iraqi regime's unmistakable flaunting of its obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 687.

This calls into serious question other commitments and reports the government of Iraq has purportedly made in compliance with Resolution 687. This incident, however, is only one example of Iraqi failure to abide by its obligations under U.N. Security Resolution 687.

The specific case at hand involves Iraqi deception with regard to its nuclear weapons-related activities. Paragraph 12 of Resolution 687 obligates Iraq to cooperate with the Special Commission and the IAEA. Iraq is required to facilitate, and cooperate with any and all on-site inspections the Special Commission and the IAEA deem necessary. Resolution 687 also requires Iraq to declare all items related to the production of nuclear weapons-usable material.

Iraq accepted these obligations when it accepted Resolution 687, thereby setting the stage for the council to declare that a cease-fire has gone into effect. In addition, the Iraqi government, in letters to the secretary general -- most recently on June 11, has pledged to cooperate with the Special Commission and the IAEA.

Despite its obligations and assurances, Iraq has acted to subvert the letter and the spirit of the provisions of Resolution 687. There is ample evidence from multiple sources that Iraq has been conducting a covert nuclear program that has included activities related to the production of nuclear weapons-usable material. We know that Iraq was carrying out its nuclear program at a series of sites. Prior to the IAEA/Special Commission inspections, Iraq began to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. We know that some of this equipment was moved to the Abu Gharaib site.

The Special Commission and IAEA have been fully briefed on this information and on our belief that the Abu Gharaib facility was being used as a temporary storage site for equipment from Iraq's undeclared uranium enrichment program. As the briefing members of the Security Council have received made clear, equipment associated with an undeclared Iragi uranium enrichment program was at that site prior to June 22. Iraq is required under Security Council Resolution 687 to declare and make such equipment available for inspection. Instead, this equipment has been removed. Even as Iraqi work crews were frantically removing this equipment, Iraqi officials were barring the Security Council-mandated inspection team access to that site. At one point, the team had to move aside to allow the heavy moving equipment to proceed to the site. Only now, after it has spent several days removing equipment and material, has Iraq allowed the inspection team access to the site. This does not constitute compliance with Resolution 687. This in obstructionism combined with an attempt to conceal equipment which Iraq is required to make available for inspection and appropriate treatment.

The episode at Abu Gharaib reveals a consistent pattern of Iraqi government deceit and obfuscation on this issue. We have indisputable evidence, drawn from many sources, that Iraq has been seeking to produce unsafeguarded nuclear material and to acquire nuclear weapons, contrary to its obligations under the NPT and its full scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

Our evidence includes, but is not limited to statements from a former Iraqi nuclear official, the results of the IAEA/Special Commission inspection in May, the long record of Iraqi attempts to illegally acquire sensitive nuclear items from abroad, and photographs, some of which members of the council have seen.

There are additional sites associated with Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Abu Gharaib was merely a storage site. We have confirmed the existence of an extensive nuclear infrastructure in Iraq, including a number of facilities intended for the production of weapons-grade nuclear material and for the development of nuclear weapons. While the war apparently interrupted operations at these sites, Iraq remains obliged under UNSC Resolution 687 to provide a prompt and complete declaration of all such nuclear facilities and items to the IAEA and the Special Commission. Instead, Iraq has tried to conceal as much of its nuclear weapons program as possible, moving key items away from nuclear sites into temporary storage at other locations.

Clearly, if Security Council Resolution 687 is to have any meaning the council must ensure that Iraq grants the IAEA and Special Commission inspection teams full and immediate access to designated sites. The council must also ensure that Iraq provide a complete declaration of all of its nuclear weapons-related items, including those items which were spirited away from Abu Gharaib.

This episode demonstrates that Iraq has been doing everything it can to conceal the full extent of its unsafeguarded nuclear enrichment program, which we believe is directed toward development of nuclear weapons. The council needs to recognize that the stark nature of Iraqi deception in this area calls into serious question the accuracy of Iraqi declarations with respect to other items, facilities, and materials proscribed under the provisions of Resolution 687 -- as well as their intent to comply fully with the resolution's mandate.

Given the example in the nuclear field, are we to believe the^ Iraqi government's outright denial of the existence of a biological weapons program? We have reason to believe the contrary.

Given the example in the nuclear field, are we to believe that the Iraqis have faithfully declared their holdings of long-range ballistic missiles and chemical munitions? We have reason to believe the contrary.

In fact, Iraq has under-reported its ballistic missile and chemical warfare stocks and it denies it has a biological capability. There is also strong evidence that the lraqis have attempted to hide substantial portions of their missile and chemical munition infrastructure from access by the U.N. Special Commission.

Mr. President, this council has recently completed a review of Iraq's policies and practices and its performance record regarding implementation of Resolution 687. Wisely, the Security Council made no decision to lift the economic sanctions that remain in place against Iraq.

As long as Iraq fails to fully and unequivocally comply with the requirements of Resolution 687, the council should not consider altering those sanctions.

Any and all other nuclear weapons-related equipment and material, Iraq must declare and make available for scrutiny. Iraq must also make a full accounting of its ballistic missile and other weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Iraq must provide full and complete access to UNSC-mandated inspection teams to that material and all sites associated with this program. Anything less makes hollow Iraqi commitments to abide by all of the provisions of that resolution.

Furthermore, the Security Council must reiterate its determination to ensure that Iraq complies with its binding decisions. Let us be direct and clear: Iraq must comply fully with all of the provisions of Resolution 687, including its nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and ballistic missile provisions. In this regard, the equipment removed from the Abu Gharaib site must be declared and made available to the IAEA and the Special Commission for inspection.

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File Identification:  06/27/91, TX-405; 06/27/91, AR-408; 06/27/91, EU-406; 06/27/91, NE-410
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Keywords:  IRAQ/Defense & Military; WATSON, ALEXANDER/Speaker; UNITED NATIONS-SECURITY COUNCIL; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY; INSPECTIONS; SANCTIONS
Document Type:  TXT
Thematic Codes:  160
Target Areas:  AR; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  188530