News

DATE=1/30/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-244891 TITLE=U-N / IRAQ REVIEW (L) BYLINE=MAX RUSTON DATELINE=UNITED NATIONS CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL HAS (SATURDAY) AGREED ON A FIRST STEP TOWARD RESOLVING DIVISIONS OVER HOW TO MOVE FORWARD ON ISSUES CONCERNING IRAQ. V-O-A'S UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT MAX RUSTON REPORTS. TEXT: THE COUNCIL HAS AGREED TO ESTABLISH THREE PANELS TO COMPILE AND REVIEW INFORMATION ON DISARMAMENT, HUMANITARIAN AND PRISONER-OF-WAR ISSUES CONCERNING IRAQ. THE COUNCIL STATEMENT ANNOUNCING THE PLAN DOES NOT SAY EXACTLY WHAT THE INFORMATION WILL BE USED FOR. BUT DIPLOMATS SAY THEY HOPE IT WILL HELP THE COUNCIL OVERCOME DIVISIONS OVER HOW TO ENSURE THAT IRAQ DOES NOT BUILD OR DEPLOY WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. THEY SAY IT IS A MODEST FIRST-STEP IN THAT DIRECTION. RUSSIA, CHINA AND FRANCE WANT SANCTIONS AND DISARMAMENT INSPECTIONS IN IRAQ EASED OR LIFTED, AS DOES IRAQ. THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN ARE AGAINST THE RELAXATION OF THOSE MEASURES, SAYING IRAQ STILL POSES A SERIOUS THREAT TO THE REGION AND THE WORLD. THE PANELS WILL BE CHAIRED BY BRAZIL'S AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND REQUIRED TO SUBMIT THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL NO LATER THAN APRIL 15TH. THE COUNCIL AGREEMENT FOLLOWS SEVERAL WEEKS OF OFTEN-HEATED DISCUSSIONS. THE DISCUSSIONS BEGAN AFTER THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN CARRIED OUT MILITARY STRIKES ON IRAQ IN DECEMBER AND BAGHDAD ENDED ALL COOPERATION WITH U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS. THE PROPOSAL FOR ESTABLISHING INFORMATION PANELS AS A FIRST STEP OUT OF THE DEADLOCK WAS MADE BY CANADA. DISCUSSIONS WERE PROLONGED BY DISAGREEMENTS OVER WHAT ROLE THE U-N WEAPONS INSPECTION COMMISSION, UNSCOM, SHOULD PLAY IN THE COLLECTION OF DISARMAMENT INFORMATION. RUSSIA HAS BEEN STRONGLY OPPOSED TO ANY ROLE BY UNSCOM. THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN REMAIN STRONG SUPPORTERS OF UNSCOM AND ITS CHIEF, RICHARD BUTLER. UNDER THE AGREEMENT REACHED SATURDAY, UNSCOM WILL BE ONE OF SEVERAL U-N AND OTHER AGENCIES PROVIDING INFORMATION AND EXPERTISE TO THE PANEL ON DISARMAMENT. (SIGNED) NEB/MPR/CBL/RRM 30-Jan-99 5:30 PM EST (2230 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .