USIS Washington 
File

03 March 1998

U.S. HAILS UN RESOLUTION ON IRAQ AS SERIOUS BREAKTRHOUGH

(Pickering: resolution still needs threat of military force) (330)

By Peter Sawchyn

USIA Staff Writer



Washington -- The United States welcomes the latest U.N. Security
Council Resolution on Iraq as a "serious and important breakthrough"
that makes clear Saddam Hussein's responsibility to grant full access
to all suspected weapons sites, Undersecretary of State Thomas
Pickering said at the Foreign Press Center here March 3.


"The new resolution adopted by the Security Council is extremely
important," Pickering said. "It fully endorses the memorandum of
agreement U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan negotiated in Baghdad,
which clearly reiterates that Iraq must comply with all U.N.
resolutions or else face the severest consequences."


Despite differing interpretations among some Security Council members
of what the phrase "severest consequences" means, Pickering said the
resolution's language "could not be more clear."


"There is nothing in it that prohibits or inhibits the use of military
force," if Saddam again violates U.N. resolutions on weapons
inspections, Pickering said.


"The United States does not look forward to using force and prefers
not to," Pickering told the foreign journalists. However, given
Saddam's past record of evading U.N. resolutions, and attempts to
reacquire weapons of mass destruction, the threat of military action
must remain in place.


Pickering said he believes the agreement the U.N. chief negotiated has
a good chance of succeeding, but only if it is backed by the threat of
force. The Undersecretary echoed Annan's remarks saying that should
Iraq violate the agreement by evasion or deception, "diplomacy may not
have a second chance."


He added that the real proof of Iraq's commitment will come when
inspections of the so-called sensitive and sovereign sites begin. The
Undersecretary did not specify when these would begin. However, he did
say the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq is committed to "early
testing" of the resolution, and that inspections should begin very
soon.


(For more information on this subject, contact our special Iraq
website at:
http://www.usia.gov/iraq)