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TEXT: UN SPOKESMAN'S DAILY BRIEFING FOR APRIL 27, 1998



United Nations -- Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the Secretary-General,
briefed.

Following is the UN text of the summary:

(begin text)


27 April 1998
Press Briefing

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OF OFFICE OF SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL

(Incorporates briefing by spokesman for General Assembly President.)



Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, began today's noon
briefing by stating that the Security Council was conducting its
periodic review of sanctions on Iraq this morning. Gary Dillon, head
of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) action team in Iraq,
first introduced the report on their activities over the past six
months. Ambassador Richard Butler, Executive Chairman of the United
Nations Special Commission on the disarmament of Iraq (UNSCOM), had
then introduced his biannual report. Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala,
the Commissioner of the Special Group which conducted the inspection
of eight presidential sites, also reported on his Group's mission. The
review was likely to continue into the afternoon. Ambassador Butler
was expected to brief the press.


In addition, the Russian Federation was organizing an informal meeting
of Council members with Iraq's Foreign Minister, Mohammed Said
Al-Sahaf, and Iraq's Oil Minister, General Amir Rasheed, under the
"Arria formula" the Spokesman said. That would take place at 4:30 p.m.
today in Conference Room 7 and the two Iraqi Ministers would hold a
press conference in room 226 at 11 a.m. tomorrow.


Mr. Eckhard said that Iraq's detailed response to the biannual report
of UNSCOM was out as a Security Council document this morning and was
available on the racks. It contained several annexes on the Iraqi
accounting of the activities of inspection teams and monitoring groups
over the past six months, the technical evaluation meetings, and a
list of weapons, materials and destroyed equipment between 1991 and
1997.

..............

Asked about reports that the Secretary-General had asked UNSCOM to
change a paragraph in its report, Mr. Eckhard said that no changes had
been made in the report and none had been requested by the
Secretary-General.

..............


It had come to the attention of correspondents that the Office of
Internal Oversight Services had been asked to investigate the leak of
a United Nations report, a correspondent said. "It would seem to a
number of us that is a bit chilling on just normal contacts and press
freedom in the building. It is not as if a secret document was stolen
out of the Secretary-General's office." Mr. Eckhard said that the
Member States did not like to see reports discussed in the media
before they themselves had received them. "There has been a pattern of
leakage -- we don't know where it is. But when a wire service or
someone else starts discussing the content of a report before it has
reached the Council members, we do not think it is against free speech
and we do not think it is against you. We would just like an orderly
distribution of reports, so it goes first to the Council and then to
the media."


The same correspondent said there was a "very political game" in the
Council directed against UNSCOM and it was surprising that the
Secretariat would get involved. Mr. Eckhard said that if Council
members leaked their own reports that was their business, but the
Secretariat should not. "We are not saying that the Secretariat is
involved, but we suspect that it might be and we just want to look
into it."


Asked to comment on the different evaluations of Iraq's cooperation
with inspections of the presidential sites, the Spokesman said the
UNSCOM report covered a significant period which preceded the
Memorandum of Understanding. However, as a result of the Memorandum of
Understanding, Iraq had committed itself to allowing unfettered access
by UNSCOM. In the investigations that had happened since then,
including the inspection of presidential sites, Iraq had made good on
that pledge. There might have been some tension during the
presidential site inspection relating to the overflight by UNSCOM
helicopters, but those problems were eventually worked out. The
Security Council was just beginning its review of sanctions in the
light of those changes "and we'll just see where it goes." The
Secretary-General was pleased with the implementation of the
Memorandum of Understanding and was hopeful it would continue.


...........

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