News


Tracking Number:  192351

Title:  "UN Team Finds Large Stores of Iraqi Chemical Weapons." IAEA inspectors say that Iraq has a far larger store of chemical weapons than it claimed in its report to the UN Security Council. (910731)

Translated Title:  Grupo ONU encuentra grandes almacenamientos armas quimicas Iraquies.; L-Irak aurait un important arsenal d-armes chimiques. (910731)
Author:  AITA, JUDY (USIA STAFF WRITER)
Date:  19910731

Text:
*POL302

07/31/91 HU.N. TEAM FINDS LARGE STORES OF IRAQI CHEMICAL WEAPONS SH(Far more arms than Iraq admits possessing) (1200) BYBy Judy Aita BIUSIA United Nations Correspondent

TUnited Nations -- Iraq has a far larger store of chemical weapons than it claimed in its report to the United Nations Security Council, a U.N. inspection team has found.

Although Baghdad originally claimed in its report to the council that it had only about 12,000 weapons and 650 tons of chemicals, it has four times that amount, according to the U.N. special commission overseeing the destruction of Iraq's weapons.

In all, the commission says, Iraq has about 46,000 pieces of field chemical munitions and 3,000 tons of precursors and intermediate materials, including missile warheads outfitted with nerve gas.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering said after the July 30 meeting that "all the members of the council were struck by the new figures on chemical weapons which were given to them for the first time and the size of the stockpile."

Ambassador Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, chairman of the commission, said at a news conference later that investigators were surprised at the "size and the magnitude of the chemical weapons and the facilities" they found during their first inspection visit to a 25-square-mile site near Samarra in mid-June.

"There is a very rich amount of munitions in the chemical stores -- bombs, rockets, grenades, artillery pieces," he said, but until new teams have a chance to conduct further inspections it is impossible to tell if any of the chemical warheads were designed for the "supergun" Iraq recently admitted to possessing.

Additionally, Ekeus said, "in the neighborhoods of airbases spread around Iraq there are considerable amounts of chemical weapons -- munitions filled with chemical agents," and careful analysis and special handling must be undertaken before the "difficult and complex" task of destroying the weapons can be accomplished.

As a result of the disclosures, the special commission will be carrying out "a large and complex inspection program" with "five inspections in a row," Ekeus said. One team of 70 chemical weapons experts is scheduled to go to Iraq in September for six to eight weeks. Meanwhile, two other missions to different sites are also being scheduled for August.

The ambassador noted that a "very large amount" of the chemical weapons pieces contain tear gas for military weapons purposes, not riot control, and there is also a "drastic increase" in the amount of mustard and nerve gas.

"The dramatic increase in the chemical munitions is a consequence of the Iraqis' seeing that the commission and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) have teeth and have the capability to go and search very effectively, search and destroy," Ekeus said. "The special commission continues to press for more information and Iraq continues to come up with more answers."

Ekeus and Hans Blix, IAEA director general, earlier July 30 briefed the Security Council on the results of the third inspection of Iraq's nuclear weapons facilities, the upcoming visit to look for biological weapons sites, and the plans to monitor Iraq's future compliance with the cease-fire requirement that it cannot amass any nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons usable material.

Although Iraq has stated it has no biological weapons, the special commission has assembled the first biological weapons inspection team in Bahrain and it is expected to begin looking at sites on August 3. The sites are being chosen based on information provided by other governments, Ekeus said.

"We have taken a long time to get the (biological) inspection underway because of careful planning," Ekeus said. "We know it will be a very controversial one, but we feel that we have very interesting material with us and we will see if the declaration then is correct."

The special commission feels it "still lacks sufficient information" from Baghdad on the nuclear program, Ekeus told reporters, adding that "we hope it will be more forthcoming in the future."

He said the commission sees "great problems, areas to be covered," and while it is "still unclear about most of the situation, the EMIS (electromagnetic isotope separation uranium enrichment) program, at least, starts to fall into place....

"However," he noted, "even there we feel there are important components missing." For example, on the centrifuge enrichment and chemical enrichment "there is still much to be wished for."

Blix said that IAEA does not yet know the full extent of Iraq's nuclear capability and does not yet have an inventory of all nuclear material in the country.

"We feel that the details of the EMIS program are becoming very numerous," he said, adding that "quite a lot has been revealed about this program, but this is not to say it is a full revelation....As regards the centrifuge program, the feeling of our inspectors...is that there is more to learn, more to disclose on the Iraqi side."

The IAEA director said that the fourth team is now in Iraq where it is scheduled to remain for two weeks. So far, IAEA teams have "spent about 1,000 inspection days" in Iraq.

A videotape of the nuclear installation at Tarmiya, which was shown to the council, contains a segment on the inauguration of the installation showing the dimensions of the site, Blix said, as well as another section showing extensive damage from the allied bombing.

"The third phase shows what it looked like when the Iraqis had cleared out rubble and actually taken active measures of concealment of what had been in this site by way of magnets, the calutrons," he said. "A lot of equipment had been pulled out, and they had also taken the measure of pouring concrete on the floor in order to conceal some installations that would have put the inspectors fairly directly on the EMIS track."

Blix also reported that the IAEA board of governors declared that Iraq is not in compliance with the safeguards agreement of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (under which they are obliged to declare various types of nuclear materials and facilities which are built for the processing of nuclear material). Iraq's declaration of July 7 demonstrated that they had not fulfilled that duty, and IAEA reported that to the council, he said.

Ekeus said that 62 ballistic missiles, along with a number of launchers and decoys, have been destroyed by Iraq under U.N. supervision. The special commission will continue to search for more ballistic missiles and "focus in on" the "supergun" beginning August 8.

(On July 19, Iraq admitted it had been building and testing a "supergun" with a barrel 350mm wide and 150 feet long and it was in the process of building a second one.)

The commission wants to see the data on the supergun to determine if Iraq's declaration is correct, he said. If the gun checks out it will be treated as a missile launcher and must be destroyed by Iraq under U.N. supervision.

According to the cease-fire resolution, Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar is to present a plan for Iraq's long-term compliance with the demand it not possess any chemical, biological and nuclear weapons or related material. Ekeus and Blix revealed little about their suggestions to the secretary general except to say that it will be a long-term, very stringent, very intrusive verification program, breaking new ground in the area of arms control. NNNN N


File Identification:  07/31/91, PO-302; 07/31/91, AE-314; 07/31/91, AS-312; 07/31/91, AR-316; 07/31/91, EP-313; 07/31/91, EU-315; 07/31/91, NE-309; 07/31/91, AE-314; 08/01/91, AF-409; 08/01/91, NA-406
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Spanish; Arabic; French
Keywords:  UNITED NATIONS-SECURITY COUNCIL; INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY; IRAQ/Defense & Military; INSPECTIONS; ARMS CONTROL VERIFICATION; CHEMICAL & BIOLOGICAL WARFARE; EKEUS, ROLF; PICKERING, THOMAS
Thematic Codes:  1NE; 1AC; 1UN
Target Areas:  AR; EA; EU; NE; AF
PDQ Text Link:  192351; 192312; 192505