USIS Washington 
File

03 March 1998

TEXT: STATEMENT ON IRAQ AT UNSC BY SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN

(Diplomacy must be backed by both force and fairness)  (1400)



United Nations -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says the weapons
inspection agreement he has worked out with the leadership of Iraq
has, for the time being, averted a "grave threat" to international
peace and security.


But, he said in remarks to the UN Security Council prior to its March
2 vote endorsing his memorandum of understanding with Iraq, "I am
under no illusions about the inherent value of this or any other
agreement. Commitments honored are the only commitments that count."


Annan said the Iraqi government must now fulfill, "without obstruction
or delay," the obligations it affirmed "at the very highest level."
This, he said, includes full cooperation with inspection teams,
"according immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to those
teams to every area, facility, piece of equipment, individual and
means of transportation."


The Secretary General also said the Iraqi government "fully
understands that if this effort to ensure compliance through
negotiation is obstructed, by evasion or deception, as were previous
efforts, diplomacy may not have a second chance.


"No promise of peace and no policy of patience can be without limits,"
Annan said.


The Secretary General said that by halting, for now, the threat of
renewed military action in the Gulf, the agreement "was a victory for
peace, for reason, for the resolution of conflict by diplomacy."


But, he noted, it underscores that "if diplomacy is to succeed, it
must be backed both by force and by fairness."


Following is the UN text of Annan's statement:



(begin text)



2 March 1998



IRAQ'S COMPLETE FULFILMENT OF OBLIGATIONS IS ONLY AIM OF AGREEMENT
SECURED LAST WEEK, SECRETARY-GENERAL INFORMS SECURITY COUNCIL


Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's statement made
at this evening's meeting of the Security Council:


I wish to thank and commend the members of the Security Council for
the action you are about to take in relation to the agreement that I
secured last week from the Government of Iraqi. If respected, if
honored, and if sustained, this agreement could constitute one of the
United Nations' most important steps in addressing the consequences of
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait seven years ago.


I would like to take this opportunity to make clear to the entire
international community the nature, the demands and the promise of
this agreement.


I went to Baghdad, with the full authorization of all members of the
Security Council, in search of a peaceful solution to the crisis. I
went to fulfill my constitutional obligation under the United Nations
Charter, and my commitment to the General Assembly at the commencement
of my term -- a sacred, moral obligation and commitment -- to act, any
time, anywhere, without seeking or accepting instructions from any
government, whenever that action may be helpful in reducing a grave
threat to international peace and security.


No one can doubt or dispute that Iraq's refusal to honor its
commitments under Security Council resolutions regarding its weapons
of mass destruction constituted such a threat. That threat has now
been averted.


The mandate of the Security Council has been reaffirmed. The full and
unlimited access of United Nations inspectors to any and all sites has
been restored. The authority of the Executive Chairman of the United
Nations Special Commission has been acknowledged and strengthened.
Whether the threat to international peace and security has been
averted for all time is now in the hands of the Iraqi leadership. It
is now for them to comply in practice with what they have signed on
paper.


I am under no illusions about the inherent value of this or any other
agreement. Commitments honored are the only commitments that count.
Indeed, this agreement, and today's Security Council resolution, will
merely be empty words unless both parties now implement it fully,
fairly, and without delay.


For our part, the United Nations stands ready for that implementation.
We shall continue to fulfill our long-standing obligation to act with
respect for the sovereignty and dignity of every Member of the United
Nations. We shall continue to strive to improve in every way the
cooperation and effectiveness of every United Nations agency.


That includes UNSCOM, which, I am proud to repeat, has already
destroyed more weapons of mass destruction in Iraq than did the entire
Gulf war, and which, under this agreement, remains in full operational
control of the inspection process.


For its part, the Government of Iraq must now fulfill, without
obstruction or delay, the continuing obligations that it reaffirmed
last week at the very highest level. That means accepting all relevant
Security Council resolutions; cooperating fully with United Nations
inspection teams; according immediate, unconditional and unrestricted
access to those teams to every area, facility, piece of equipment,
individual and means of transportation.


Those areas include the eight sites delineated as "Presidential Sites"
where members of UNSCOM and IAEA will be joined by senior diplomats
whom I will appoint.


Iraq's complete fulfillment of these obligations is the one and only
aim of this agreement. Nothing more and nothing less will make
possible the completion of the United Nations-mandated disarmament
process and thus speed the lifting of sanctions, in accordance with
the previous resolutions of the Security Council. With today's
Security Council resolution, however, the Government of Iraq fully
understands that if this effort to ensure compliance through
negotiation is obstructed, by evasion or deception, as were previous
efforts, diplomacy may not have a second chance. No promise of peace
and no policy of patience can be without limits.


This agreement tests as never before the will of the Iraqi leadership
to keep its word. But it also serves as a call for this union of
nations to look to the future, beyond the horizon and to the time when
the disarmament process in Iraq has been completed.


All of us can agree that sanctions have added greatly to the Iraqi
people's suffering; that the expansion of the oil-for-food programmed
will reduce that suffering without diluting the disarmament regime;
and that someday, sooner or later -- and we pray sooner -- a fully
disarmed and peaceable Iraq would be able to rejoin the family of
nations.


The United Nations, founded even before the close of the Second World
War over 50 years ago, has an inherent obligation to remember that
even the bitterest of enmities among nations do not last forever. It
is, therefore, not too early for us to think about reconciling peoples
once their governments are at peace.


The agreement reached in Baghdad was neither a "victory" nor a
"defeat" for any one person, nation or group of nations. Certainly,
the United Nations and the world community lost nothing, gave away
nothing and conceded nothing of substance. But by halting, at least
for now, the renewal of military hostilities in the Gulf, it was a
victory for peace, for reason, for the resolution of conflict by
diplomacy.


It underscored, however, that if diplomacy is to succeed, it must be
backed both by force and by fairness.


The agreement was also a reminder to the entire world of why this
Organization was established in the first place: to prevent the
outbreak of unnecessary conflict when the will of the world community
can be achieved through diplomacy; to seek and find international
solutions to international problems; to obtain respect for
international law and agreements from a recalcitrant party without
destroying forever that party's dignity and willingness to cooperate;
to secure, in this case, through on-site inspections and negotiations,
the assured destruction of weapons of mass destruction that aerial
bombardment can never achieve.


If this agreement is fully implemented and leads over time to a new
day in the Gulf; if this exercise in diplomacy, backed by fairness,
firmness and force, stands the test of time, it will serve as an
enduring and invaluable precedent for the United Nations and the world
community.


If, ultimately, we have learned the right lessons of this crisis, then
this planet's age-old prayer for enduring peace and justice may be
within our reach. It was that prayer, from people of every faith and
every frontier, that sustained me on my journey for peace to Baghdad.
I pledge today, before this Council and the world, to strive, to seek,
to find and not to yield in the fulfillment of my duty.


(end text)