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[EXCERPTS] STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, MAY 7, 1998



DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING INDEX
Thursday, May 7

Briefer:  James B. Foley

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IRAQ

8       Amb. Butler's letter on Iraqi cooperation
8       UN Security Council action necessary to change sanctions



Q: Jim, on Iraq, have you seen the reports of Ambassador Butler's
report to the Security Council, which I'm paraphrasing -- but
essentially, that Iraq has cooperated in the inspections of all sites?


FOLEY: It is up to UNSCOM to assess whether Iraq is providing
sufficient information, as established under United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1137. We, the United States, have acknowledged
Iraq's cooperation with regard to the inspection at the eight
presidential sites -- the one-time inspection only.


But as Chairman Butler's letter that you refer to makes clear, there
remain some areas of access and cooperation that are either
unsatisfactory or untested. We will support UNSCOM in demanding full
cooperation in all of these areas. We also note that providing access
to UNSCOM does not meet the fundamental task before Iraq on weapons of
mass destruction. That task involves disclosure of its weapons
programs and disarmament. It remains Iraq's responsibility to disclose
fully its weapons of mass destruction and missile programs to UNSCOM.
The debate over access to sites and to people in Iraq has arisen only
because Iraq has refused to offer such disclosure willingly.


In terms of your specific question, Chairman Butler has just made this
letter available. It's something we're going to study with our
colleagues in the Security Council.


Q: In light of that letter, will the United States go along with a
partial lifting of some sanctions -- for example, free movement of
Iraqi officials?


FOLEY: Well, you are raising the very issue I said we are going to
study in light of his letter. We haven't' made any determination; this
just came out this morning.


Q: And procedurally, would the United States have a veto over even a
partial lifting of sanctions?


FOLEY: Well, my understanding is those sanctions are all governed by
Security Council resolutions. The Security Council would have to act
with unanimity to change its resolutions.


Q: Is it your understanding that the travel ban has not been lifted,
then, despite this --


FOLEY: My understanding is that this was passed last fall under a
Security Council resolution. It would take Security Council action to
reverse it. But I'd be happy to check the record to see whether
there's any flexibility involved in the original Security Council
resolution.



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(end transcript)