News



DATE=4/23/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-230118
TITLE=IRAQ/U-N (L-ONLY)
  BYLINE=DOUGLAS ROBERTS
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:   THERE WERE FURTHER SIGNS FROM BAGHDAD THURSDAY THAT THE 
IRAQI GOVERNMENT MAY BE HEADED FOR A NEW CONFRONTATION WITH THE 
UNITED NATIONS.  A STATEMENT ISSUED AFTER A CABINET MEETING, 
CHAIRED BY PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN, WARNED OF CONSEQUENCES, IF 
THE SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO ACT SOON TO LIFT CRIPPLING ECONOMIC
SANCTIONS IMPOSED AFTER IRAQ'S 1990  INVASION OF KUWAIT.  MIDDLE 
EAST CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS FROM CAIRO.

TEXT:  THE SECURITY COUNCIL IS SCHEDULED TO MEET LATER THIS MONTH
FOR A PERIODIC REVIEW OF EFFORTS TO VERIFY THE ELIMINATION OF 
IRAQ'S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION -- A PREREQUISITE FOR THE 
LIFTING OF THE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS.

THE LATEST REPORT FROM THE HEAD OF THE U-N ARMS COMMISSION, 
AUSTRALIAN DIPLOMAT RICHARD BUTLER, SAYS THERE HAS BEEN VIRTUALLY
NO  PROGRESS OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS.

THAT CONCLUSION IS HOTLY DISPUTED IN BAGHDAD.  IRAQI OFFICIALS 
SAY MR. BUTLER'S REPORT IS POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED, AND THEY HAVE  
RENEWED CHARGES THAT HE IS ACTING AS AN AGENT OF THE UNITED 
STATES.  THE STATEMENT ISSUED AFTER THURSDAY'S CABINET MEETING 
SAYS HIS LATEST REPORT IS AIMED SOLELY AT PERSUADING THE SECURITY
COUNCIL TO MAINTAIN THE SANCTIONS.

THE CABINET WARNED THAT THE U-N CAN EITHER LIFT THE SANCTIONS OR 
FACE WHAT IT DESCRIBED AS A NEW STATE OF AFFAIRS.

THE STATEMENT DID  NOT  ELABORATE.  BUT IN A CLEAR REFERENCE TO 
THE UNITED STATES, IT SAYS THE IRAQI LEADERSHIP HAD  NO  
ALTERNATIVE BUT TO WARN ITS ENEMY THERE WILL BE A HEAVY PRICE TO 
PAY, IF THE SANCTIONS REMAIN IN PLACE.

THERE HAVE BEEN SIMILAR WARNINGS FROM BAGHDAD IN THE PAST, 
FOLLOWED BY IRAQI GOVERNMENT ACTION THAT DISRUPTED THE WORK OF 
THE U-N WEAPONS COMMISSION.

                         // REST OPT ///

IN OCTOBER, IRAQ EXPELLED AMERICAN MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION.  
AND SOON AFTER THAT CRISIS WAS RESOLVED, BAGHDAD RULED-OUT ANY 
INSPECTIONS OF ITS PRESIDENTIAL PALACES.

THAT MOVE PROMPTED A FULL-SCALE BUILD-UP OF U-S AND OTHER WESTERN
FORCES IN THE GULF, COUPLED WITH WARNINGS OF MILITARY ACTION 
UNLESS IRAQ AGREED TO ALLOWS INSPECTORS INTO THE PALACES.

THE ATMOSPHERE IMPROVED MARKEDLY AFTER U-N SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI
ANNAN STEPPED IN TO FIND A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO THE CRISIS.  
U-N OFFICIALS HAILED WHAT THEY TERMED A NEW SPIRIT OF COOPERATION
FROM IRAQI AUTHORITIES. AND THE INITIAL INSPECTIONS OF THE 
PALACES WERE COMPLETED WITHOUT INCIDENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS 
MONTH.

BUT THE TONE HAS CHANGED IN BAGHDAD OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS.

IRAQI OFFICIALS ARE AGAIN LASHING OUT AT WHAT THEY DESCRIBE AS 
U-S AND BRITISH DOMINATION OF THE ARMS COMMISSION.  THEY ARE 
AGAIN DEMANDING THAT THE SECURITY COUNCIL ACCEPT WHAT THEY TERM 
BAGHDAD'S LEGITIMATE DEMAND FOR AN END TO THE SANCTIONS.

ON WEDNESDAY, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TARIQ AZIZ AGAIN APPEALED FOR
ARAB SUPPORT, URGING ARAB STATES TO DEFY THE U-N SANCTIONS. 
(SIGNED) 

NEB/DBR/PCF/JO

23-Apr-98 11:55 AM EDT (1555 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.