News

ACCESSION NUMBER:00000

FILE ID:95101304.POL

DATE:10/13/95

TITLE:13-10-95  U.N. CONSIDERS TIGHTENING WATCH ON IRAQI WEAPONS PROGRAMS



TEXT:

(UNSCOM six-month report says Iraq hid major programs) (940)

By Judy Aita

USIA United Nations Correspondent



United Nations -- Members of the U.N. Security Council said October 13

that new revelations about Iraq's weapons programs have scuttled any

talk of lifting sanctions, especially the oil embargo, against Baghdad

in the foreseeable future and will require adjustments in the U.N.'s

long-term monitoring plans.



Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, chairman of the U.N. Special Commission

overseeing the destruction of Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear,

and ballistic missile programs (UNSCOM), told the council that new

information gathered in the past six months shows that Iraq had kept

secret a major biological weapons program and its ability to produce

indigenous SCUD-type missiles.



He met with the council to discuss the written report of UNSCOM's

activities for the past six months, which was given to council members

earlier in the week. The report spells out the details of the

discoveries that had been revealed piecemeal since April in what has

been described as the one of the "most significant periods" of work

since the commission was founded at the end of the Persian Gulf war in

1991.



Much of the recently gathered information contradicts earlier

declarations by Iraq and requires UNSCOM assessments to be revised,

according to the report.



U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright said that "by all indications (the

report) shows that Iraq has cheated and lied in terms of its dealings

with the United Nations and the international community."



Iraq admitted to UNSCOM that in the summer of 1991 orders were issued

by a "high authority" to directors of the weapons sites to "protect

important documents" by packing them quickly and delivering them on

demand to special security agents. "Iraq's original claim that all

documentation was destroyed is thus patently false," the report

states.



UNSCOM doubts that the material turned over in August represents all

of the documents. "Much more documentation must still exist,

particularly in certain significant areas such as production records,

Iraq's procurement networks, and sources of supply," according to the

report.



At a press conference after his private meeting with the council,

Ekeus said that his report is "disturbing in the sense that it

indicates that Iraq has not...been cooperating in the spirit or

according to the letter of 667 and other relevant resolutions.



"Iraq has kept secret a major weapons program which was

conceptualized, developed, and put into effect before the Gulf War:

the large-scale production of a biological warfare agent. Also highly

significant is that (the agent) was put into delivery systems -- bombs

and warheads for long-range missiles; furthermore they were deployed

for use at various launching points."



Iraq also produced SCUD-type engines, put them into some missiles, and

successfully completed test flights, he said, noting, "That means that

in addition to imports from the (former) Soviet Union it has managed

to independently augment its capability. That has created some serious

problems in regard to counting" the number of missiles actually

destroyed and assuring the international community that Iraq is

complying with the U.N. resolutions.



"We now know Iraq had chemical...and biological warheads. That means

(Iraq had) strategic capabilities of considerable significance. The

matter of warheads, mobile launchers, the matter of mobile missiles

are a matter of increased risk and problems," Ekeus said.



Ekeus said UNSCOM has other problems as well: verifying that Iraq

actually destroyed the biological agents and weapons it said it did in

1991, determining if there are SCUD-type missiles that have not been

destroyed, accounting for the huge amounts of precursor chemicals for

a very potent nerve agent, and verifying if there are any chemical and

biological warheads remaining.



"We are not satisfied. We have to investigate. We have concerns

because there were bombs filled with such agents. Iraq has aircraft to

deliver such bombs. We know if there are missile warheads left in

Iraq, Iraq has been seriously misleading us," Ekeus said.



Both Security Council members and U.N. officials are concerned because

while Iraq turned over about one million pages of documents in August,

its actions came not from a change in policy but because of the

defection of General Hussein Kamel Hassan, the head of Iraq's weapons

programs. Iraq has blamed Kamel Hassan for withholding the information

from the U.N. for four and a half years.



The report shows essentially how far away Iraq is from cooperating

with the United Nations, diplomats said. Essentially what UNSCOM

learned came about because of a defection which could not be

anticipated. It casts even greater doubt about how much UNSCOM really

knows about Iraq's activities and suggests that the current U.N.

monitoring system needs to be tightened, the number of monitored sites

increased, and new equipment added.



Ekeus, while agreeing that the monitoring and verification system will

need to be adjusted to accommodate programs that were larger than

previously thought, pointed out that the system is working and is

"very robust and sound."



It detected the purchase of large amounts of "growth medium" that

pointed to Iraq's large biological weapons program, thereby eventually

compelling Iraq to release documents showing just how advanced the

program was, he said. The monitoring program also detected Iraq's

movement of equipment that could be converted to chemical weapons

production.



Before the oil embargo can be lifted, Albright said, "we have to make

sure that the monitoring system which has been described positively in

the past by chairman Ekeus is now adjusted, upgraded in order to be

able to deal with the new situation."

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