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U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

INDEX
MONDAY, APRIL 20, 1998
Briefer: JAMES P. RUBIN

IRAQ
11Information to IAEA still incomplete
11-12UN six-month report shows failure to cooperate
11-12No significance to parade in Baghdad
12No information on the role of the Russian ambassador in Baghdad


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 48
MONDAY, APRIL 20, 1998,12:55 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

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QUESTION: Different subject - a couple of days ago, the Iraqis held a nice, big military parade, at about the same time that Richard Butler was waxing somewhat pessimistic on the state of the inspection process. Do you have any comment?

MR. RUBIN: Just commenting on those two separate events?

QUESTION: Well, maybe separate.

MR. RUBIN: Let me just say this - for seven years, the UN and the IAEA have been attempting to get the Iraqis to provide complete, verifiable accounting of their weapons of mass destruction programs. For the International Atomic Energy Agency, this means providing important information on Iraq's nuclear program, including its progress in weapons design, uranium enrichment, procurement efforts and Iraq's efforts to conceal its programs. Iraq handed the IAEA incomplete information in a piecemeal fashion, and we look forward to hearing the report on that subject.

With regard to the six month report that is now circulating in New York, what this latest report from the UN indicates is, there is a compelling case that Iraq has not complied with UN Security Council resolutions in any area of substance. The report presents clear and very disturbing evidence that Iraq has failed to cooperate in coming forward with the information needed to allow the UN to conclude that Iraq has, indeed, destroyed the weapons it says it has destroyed. We are especially disturbed that non-compliance has taken place after signature of the UN-Iraq Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement which we welcomed and which Iraq is bound to comply with.

The message from all of this is that even while the Iraqis may have allowed inspectors to visit palaces, they continue to lie and hide the truth regarding the existence of long-range ballistic missiles, VX and serin chemical weapons and anthrax and other biological weapons. It doesn't surprise us that they are doing so, but it nevertheless shows how far away they are from the time when the UN could declare them in compliance with the relevant provisions and the relevant resolutions.

QUESTION: Does the parade, perhaps, underscore their --

MR. RUBIN: You know, they give parades over there all the time, and I'm always especially amused at the parades that are reported with great fanfare that have people marching around in circles with no rifles. So, it doesn't mean much to me there's a parade in Baghdad.

QUESTION: On the North-South -- can we switch to Korea, the talks ended now?

MR. RUBIN: Any more on Iraq?

QUESTION: Yes, I have one. The Russian Ambassador is Baghdad is playing an mediator role between Saddam Hussein and the two Kurdish parties in the north and this development is almost different and opposite of the US, British and the Turkish Ankara process.

MR. RUBIN: When asking me what is not a front-burner issue, it would be helpful if you let us know and then we could try to get the information before the briefing instead of spending the afternoon doing it when we have all the people there who can answer these questions. Give us a call 10:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m.; tell us what you're going to ask, and we'll be happy to try to get information. If it's not a front-burner issue, it's hard to have everything here.

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(The briefing concluded at 1:50 P.M.).

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