United Nations Security Council

Distr. General

S/1998/1106

20 November 1998

LETTER DATED 20 NOVEMBER 1998 FROM THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSION ESTABLISHED BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 9 (b) (i) OF SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTTON 687 (1991) ADDRESSED TO THE.PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL

In the context of the United Nations Special Commission's (UNSCOM) resumption of work in Iraq, on 17 November 1998, I addressed three letters to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq on 17, 18, and 19 November. Copies of those 1etters are attached, as.are two replies received from Iraq, on 19 November. These are replies to my 1etters of 17 and 18 November 1998.

As will be evident from their texts, the purpose of my three letters was to seek from Iraq documents and explanations in the three weapons fields identified in UNSCOM's mandate, in an attempt to bring to account outstanding disarmament issues and to generally increase the 1evel of verification avai1able to the Commission with respect to those issues and the related matter of concea1ment activities by Iraq. It was judged to be appropriate to seek this information now, inter alia, in the light or Iraq's undertaking, given on 14 November, that it was prepared to extend to the commission the full cooperation required of it under re1evant resolutions of the Security Council.

In addition to forwarding this correspondence to you, for the information of members of the Council, I thought it would also be helpful to offer members of the Council UNSCOM's analyses and commentary on the Iraqi replies. This is as follows.

First, an underlying contention in both replies by Iraq is that preparations for a comprehensive review of Iraq's compliance with its obligations has already commenced. This contention has had an impact on Iraq's replies. The Iraqi reply to my letter of 18 November on Iraq's biological weapons programme is the main case in point.

Iraq declines to furnish the Commission with any further information on its biological weapons programme, stating instead that "the comprehensive review will determine whether the disarmament phase has been completed or whether steps in the biological file need to be taken to fulfil the requirements of the disarmament phase." This stance appears to ignore the fact that on four occasions, during the last 18 months, international experts have concluded unanimous1y that Iraq's current disclosure statement in this area is deeply deficient and does not provide a basis for any credible level of verification. The experts recommended that Iraq be requested to provide to the Commission further information and documents.

This is why the letter of 18 November was sent. Iraq's reply seems to indicate that it is not prepared to do any further disarmament work with the commission in the biological weapons area, unless required to do so by the Security Council following a comprehensive review.

Accordingly, I have written to Mr. Tariq Aziz asking that further consideration be given to the issues raised in my letter of 18 November. A copy of that letter is attached.

Secondly, in the reply to the letter of 17 November, the explanation given by Iraq in answer to our request to have access to the relevant archives of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, the Military Industrialization Organization and other Government departments, avoids the question as put and does not undertake that such access will be granted.

While it is the case that inspections were conducted at the times and sites mentioned in Iraq's reply, those were not specifically for the purpose to which our request of l7 November was directed. Access by UNSCOM to the archives to be provided, as I hope through cooperation by, Iraq, would be the most effective and least controversial way of the Commission obtaining the necessary evidence for the accounting of Iraq's prohibited weapons programmes. It would avoid seeking out such documents through intrusive inspection which, as Council members are aware, has, sometimes been the source of tension and blockage.

Sight should also not be lost of the fact that Iraq has an obligation under the resolutions of the Council to make available to the Commission any document which in the Commission's view is relevant to its mandate. Full access, full disclosure by Iraq would be of immense assistance. That is why it was asked for such an access, generically.

Finally, it should be noted, in this context, that Iraq's response does not seek to assert that the relevant archives do not exist.

Given below are specific comments on the points made in the annex to Iraq's reply to the letter of 17 November.

1. The Commission requested Iraq to provide the document on the consumption of special munitions found by the Commission's inspection team at the Air Force Headquarters on 18 July l998.

According to expert assessment, this document details Iraq's consumption of special munitions in the 1980s, filled with chemical warfare agents. In its reply, Iraq states that its activities during the above-mentioned time-frame fall outside the scope of UNSCOM's mandate. However, to verify and to account credibly for all proscribed weapons which remained in Iraq after the Gulf war, the commission has to know the total holdings of Iraq's chemical weapons and their disposition prior to the adoption of resolution 687 (1991). 'Therefore this document is directly related to the mandate of the Commission.

The Security Council has demanded that Iraq deliver this document to the Commission.

2. The Commission requested Iraq to provide the "Reply of the Muthanna State Establishment on the Recommendations of the Ministry of Defence on actions concerning the development of chemical weapons." In its response, Iraq stated that this matter was concluded to the satisfaction of the Commission. Iraq also claimed that this document was not raised as one of the pending questions, in June 1998.

The following are the facts. In early 1996, the commission knew of the existence of this document through references made to it in other documents provided by Iraq. Iraq acknowledged that the document had been issued and promised to locate it. Subsequently, in 1997, Iraq stated that the document could not be found and, therefore, did not exist any more.

The document itself is not an outstanding issue. It is a tool to verify those selected priority issues outlined in the Schedule for Work for June 1998 and accepted by Iraq, such as material balance of special munitions and the issue of the chemical warfare agent VX.

3. The Commission, acting upon the recommendations of the international experts during the Technical evaluation Meeting on VX (February 1990) requested Iraq to provide documents and records on the status of the production of the chemical warfare agent VX in 1990. The existence of such records in 1990 had been confirmed by Iraq personnel, then involved in these activities, in the course of interviews.

Iraq, in its reply, does not respond to the question. but refers to the claimed failure of the production or VX. So far, Iraq has provided records on the production of VX only until May 1989. Iraq's declared production of VX in 1990 remains unverified.

4. The Commission, in its letter dated 17 November, requested Iraq to provide the whole diary of Brigadier Ismail from the surface-to-surface Missile Force dealing with missile-related activities in 1990 and l99l, and the report dated 30 January 1991, prepared by Lt. Gen. Hazem Abul Razzak, commander of the Surface-to-Surface missile Force (SSMF).

In its verification of the material balance, it is essen~ia1 for the Commission to have accurate and verifiable information on how many proscribed missiles and related operational assets Iraq had possessed at the time of the adoption of Security Council resolution 687 (1991). The Commission repeatedly sought to obtain, supporting documentary evidence for Iraq's declarations in this regard.

In 1996, a biological weapons inspection team was given copies of a few pages from the whole diary of Brigadier Ismail. Those pages dealt directly with biological weapons warheads. When the Commission started finalization of the material balance of the proscribed missile warheads, both conventional and special, and missile launchers and propellants, the Commission asked Iraq for other parts of this diary. Brigadier Ismail was presented to the commission as a senior officer responsible for the development and inventory of long-range missiles and their operationa1 assets in a period of 1ate 1990 and early 1991. Thus, access to his diary would provide pertinent information as to the quantity of proscribed missiles, their warheads and launchers that Iraq possessed before and after the war. The diary specifically dea1t with receipt and deployment of 1ong-range missiles, including those equipped with chemical and biological warheads. Such information, which was considered by Iraq as very sensitive would be1ong to the category of State secrets. It cou1d not be recorded in "persona1 diaries" and kept at private homes of military officers. It shou1d be noted that when a renewed request was made for the whole diary, Brigadier Ismail himself did not state that the document had been destroyed. This explanation only came later after repeated reminders from the Commission about this request.

5. The recently published memoirs of Lt. Gen. Hazem Abdul Razzak, Commander of the SSNF, contained a reference to a report of 30 January 1991, to his superiors. According to the Commander, the report contained information on the "balance of missile and warheads" that existed on that date. Such information1 if provided to the Commission, could facilitate the establishment of verifiable quantity of proscribed missiles and warheads that existed at the time of the adoption of resolution 687 (1991). Iraq's response claims that the Commission took notes from the document and then destroyed the document itself. The Commission would welcome it if Iraq could provide access to the notes that served as a basis for the memoirs of the commander of the Surface-to-Surface Missi1e Force. It should be noted that the Commander could have destroyed only a copy of his report that he sent to his superiors, not the original, which would have been kept by the addressee.

6. The Commission welcomes Iraq's readiness to present the necessary documents and awaits Iraq's submission of these documents so that they could be translated and studied by the Commission. It should be noted that the request for such documents was not made for the first time. A simi1ar request was contained in the Commission's letter dated 4 November 1996 and was subject of discussions on several occasions between Iraq and the Commission On those occasions, Iraq stated that the requested documents were not available.

7. The Commission sought documents in order to facilitate verification of Iraq's indigenous production of proscribed missiles. Eleven pages from Engineer Muqdam's diary were given to the Commission in July 1998 and were of great assistance in clarifying some of the outstanding issues involved In view of the important nature of the document, the Commission asked for access to the whole diary of Engineer Muqdam, who was involved in the critical area of indigenous production of proscribed missile engines. The Iraqi experts themselves used his diary for the preparation of their declarations on that issue in early l997. The Commission hoped that access to this document would provide further helpful information. It is not clear from Iraq's response why and when Engineer Muqdam decided to destroy his diary and why he, nevertheless, decided to keep on1y eleven pages from it;

8. Iraq has not provided any document relating to the unilateral destruction of the proscribed missile propellants in 1991. During its inspection activities, the Commission was told that al1 inventory documents certifying consumption or destruction of proscribed missiles and related assets had been available at least until late 1992. According to the officer responsible for keeping them in the accounting section of the Ministry of Defense, he gave the whole set of these documents to the authorities dealing with the Special Commission. The documents that were handed over by them to the Commission (some from 1992 to 1994, the rest in 1995 and 1997), did not contain at least two inventory diaries (No. 9 and No. 12 for l991) that correlated with the time of the declared unilateral destruction of the proscribed missi1e propellants. It was also confirmed during the inspection activities that an inventory diary certifying the unilatera1 destruction of missile propellants should have been prepared similar to the diaries that were prepared for the uni1ateral destruction of missiles and their warheads. However, the diary for the unilateral destruction of the proscribed propellants has not been given to the Commission

9. The Commission takes note of Iraq's position. However, the Commission has received information from various sources regarding the existence of such inventories.

10. It is correct that the Deputy Prime Minister did state on many occasions that he took the decision to destroy, uni1aterally, proscribed weapons and gave the re1evant orders for this operation to be carried out. Although the Commission notes this declaration, it considers that following such a strategic decision, written orders for destruction would have been given to the authorities charged with carrying out the destruction.. The Commission is also of the view that such authorities would have kept written records of those operations. It is considered legitimate to request such information about the destruction process, in order to be able to verify what had been ordered to be destroyed and that all proscribed weapons had indeed been destroyed

11. As far as the report on the defection of Hussein Kamal is concerned, it is true that the Iraqi authorities declared that no formal investigation was conducted. However, on many occasions, Iraq has said that an inquiry did take place. The conclusions of this investigation are assumed to be relevant to the Commission's mandate, not least because, for a period, Hussein Kamal was the head of the Military Industrialization Corporation, Iraq's main organization responsible for proscribed weapons programmes.

12. The Special Commission takes note that Iraq denies the existence today of a high-leve1 committee dealing with the proscribed weapons of Iraq. However, the Special Commission wishes to recall that according to Iraq's own admission in 1996, a Special High Level Committee had been formed on 30 June 1991 to address the issue of retaining proscribed materials and weapons. By requesting minutes of this Committee's meetings, the Commission was seeking to acquire a better knowledge of the facts both with respect to Iraq's unilateral destruction of weapons and possible concealment of weapons, in order to verify that all retained weapons had indeed been destroyed.

As members of the Council will observe, in my letter of today to Mr. Tariq Aziz, I have underlined the importance we attach to the maintenance of dialogue between UNSCOM and Iraq.

(Signed) Richard BUTLER

 

Annex I

Letter dated 17 November 1999 from the Executive Chairman of the Specia1 Commission established by the Secretary General pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Counci1 reso1ution 687 (1991) addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

This letter is written following the decision by the Government of Iraq, on 14 November, to resume cooperation with the Special Commission and the IAEA and the agreed statement by the President of the Security Council on that decision.

The Commission remains committed to working with Iraqi authorities in the full implementation of the Commission's mandate, as established by the relevant Security Council resolutions.

I continue to believe that, with Iraq's full cooperation, the Commission can proceed to bring the respective disarmament areas to account, expeditiously.

This letter is the first of a number of letters designed to significantly advance our work with respect to accounting for Iraq's proscribed weapons and related capabilities. Attached to this letter is an annex listing, for your immediate attention, certain documents, mainly in the chemical weapons and missile areas, I ask that the Government of Iraq provide those documents now. This would greatly facilitate the Commission's work relating to the disarmament issues defined in Appendix I of the Commissions report to the Security Council of 16 June 1998 (5/1998/529).

Tomorrow, I intend to address to you a further letter regarding Iraq's biological weapons programme. I have separated out the concerns we have in this field because, as you know, they are of a particular character

Additionally, it is important for Iraq to now fulfil outstanding requests from the Commission for the provision of documents relating to disarmament issues which have already been discussed between the Commission and Iraq in the past and which are not listed in the annexes to the present letter. They are well known to you as they were the subject of correspondence and meetings.

The provision of the documentation and information which is being requested by the present and subsequent letters should help the Commission in accounting for particular proscribed weapons and increase the Commission's confidence in the verification already achieved, which in certain areas is needed. The consequent results would be reported to the Security Council.

I would recall that, on a number of occasions, the Security Council has demanded that the Government of lraq allow immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to records that the Commission wished to inspect in accordance with its mandate. At the Emergency Session of the Special Commission, in November 1997, its members recalled that the effectiveness and the speed with which the Special Commission might accomplish its responsibilities is, above al1, determined by the degree to which the Government of Iraq cooperates in disclosing the full extent and disposition of its proscribed programmes and in granting the Commission unimpeded access to sites, documents and records the Commission wishes to inspect and to individuals required for interviews in order to implement its mandate the Security Council resolutions. The Security Council endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the Emergency Session, including this particular one.

Within the general context of the Commission's requests for documentation and information, I would like to point out that all aspects of the Commission's work relating to accounting for and verifying Iraq's proscribed programmes would be greatly facilitated if the Government of Iraq would provide access to the relevant archives of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, the Military Industrialization Corporation and other Government departments. I shall return to this matter in the near future.

(Signed) Richard BUTLER

 

Enc1osure

Document on the consumption of special munitions found by the Commission's inspection team at the Air Force Headquarters on 18 July 1998

Reply of the Muthanna State Establishment in September 1988 on the recommendations of the Ministry of Defence of 30 July 1988 (document number D/SS/Chem/109/15504) with respect to future actions concerning the development of chemical weapons

Documents and records on the status of the production of chemical warfare agent VX in 1990

Full diary of Brigadier Ismail from the Surface-to-Surface Missile Force dealing with missile related activities in 1990 and 1991 (several pages have been provided to the Commission)

Report, dated 30 January 1991, prepared by Lt. General Hazzem Abdul Razzaq, Commander of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Force (mentioned in his recently published memoirs)

Governmental and Ministerial documents concerning the creation of missile Unit 223 in 1990 and its equipping with missiles, launchers, warheads, ground support equipment, propellants etc.

Full diary of engineer Muhkdam dealing with indigenous production of missile engines in 1990 and 1991(several pages have been provided to the Commission)

Documentary evidence on the unilateral destruction of missile propellants in 1991 including an inventory diary certifying the destruction and inventory diaries # 9 and # 12 for 1991 of the First Maintenance Unit of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Force

Documents of May 1991 with inventories of available chemical, biological weapons, missiles and their warheads, launchers and other relevant equipment

Decision documents of April June and July 1991 to retain proscribed weapons, material and documents

Report on the Governmental investigation of the departure of Lt. General Hussein Kamal and the actions he took to conceal proscribed capabilities and documents

Minutes of meetings of the High-level committee on retention of proscribed weapons and materials

 

Annex II

Letter dated 18 November 1998 from the Executive Chairman of the Specia1 Commission established by the Secretary General pursuant to paragraph (b) (i) of Security Counci1 Reso1ution 687 (1991) addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

In the letter which I addressed to you yesterday, I indicated my intention to write to you further on the biological weapons area The serious concerns which have arisen in this area are well known to you. I hope we can now move forward towards solving them as soon as possible.

As you know, in the last 18 months, Iraq's full, final and complete disclosures (FFCDs) in the biological weapons area have been reviewed by four groups of international experts, all of which have concluded unanimously that the FFCDs were incomplete, inadequate and technically flawed and, in their totality, could not be verified. The last of these expert meetings recommended that no other verification assessment of Iraq's current FFCD should be conducted until Iraq committed itself to provide new substantial information.

I ask you to provide us with such new substantial information now. This could commence through the provision of annual and semi-annual activity reports for 1988 through 1991 of the declared facilities involved in the biological weapons programme and indeed for all periods of their involvement in that programme.

I am also inviting you to furnish any other documents, materials or explanations that would enhance the level of verification and to rectify the technical and other inconsistencies in the current FFCD which have been pointed out to your experts on many occasions In this context, the Government of Iraq may wish to consider whether or not the most expeditious way of proceeding would be for Iraq to provide a substantially revised or new FFCD.

When Iraq's response to this letter is received, whether in the form of a new or substantially revised FFCD, or through the provision of materials, explanations and documents, the Commission experts will proceed immediately to review and verify what is provided. If necessary, they would furnish me with recommendations on any other steps to be taken, such as: inspections, interviews and search of documents, in order to verify Iraq's disclosure, as soon as possible.

(Signed) Richard BUTLER

Annex III

Letter dated 18 November 1998 from the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission established by the Secretary Genera1 pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Counci1 resolution 687 (1991) addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

Further to my 1etter to you of 17 and 18 November 1998, this letter addresses the most important outstanding requests made by the Specia1 Commission in recent months for explanations and clarifications on matters relating to Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes in the chemica1 weapons and missile areas.

As you will recall, pursuant to the Schedule for Work agreed on 14 June 1998, the Commission carried out a number of inspections, including meetings with Iraqi counterparts, to reso1ve outstanding disarmament issues outlined in the schedule.

During these inspections, the Commission's teams made requests for exp1anations and clarifications from the Iraqi side on subjects under discussion. Some questions remained unreso1ved as the responses provided were not adequate for the Commission's verification purposes.

Due to the decision taken by Iraq on 5 August 1998, the Commission's activities in the disarmament area were halted. The Commission has never received responses from Iraq to its requests.

The Commission would appreciate receiving now the explanations, clarifications and other responses it has sought from Iraq on the most important outstanding issues listed in the Schedule for Work dated 14 June 1998. For ease of reference, the Commission's requests are outlined in the attached annex . The annex also includes two additional requests originating from the meeting of international experts on the chemical warfare agent VX, held in New York in October 1998.

If this information is provided in full, it should assist the Commission considerably in its determination to resolve outstanding disarmament issues as quickly as possib1e.

(Signed) Richard BUTLER

 

Enc1osure

1. Clarifications on the disposition of unaccounted for 155-mm shells filled with mustard, including the sites where the shells were disposed of and explanations on the relevant events (referred to in the Schedule for Work of 14 June 1998).

2. Full report on the chemical analysis of the samples from the special missile warhead fragments taken by Iraq in Ju1y 1998 (promised by Iraq to the UNSCOM 246 inspection team in July 1998).

3. Requests by the October 1998 meeting of international experts on the chemical warfare agent VX (S/1998/9955):

(a) Technical explanations on the origin and history of the special missile warhead fragments sampled by the Commission and analysed by French, Swiss and United States laboratories, and on the presence of degradation products of nerve agents and VX stabilizer in the samples;

(b) Additional information on Iraq's efforts to develop and produce VX through improved synthetic routes, during the period from mid-1988 through the beginning of 1991.

4. Explanations, clarifications and data requested by the UNSCOM 252 inspection team (July 1998) related to the accounting of proscribed missile warheads (special and conventional):

(a) Detailed description of methods and timing of the unilateral destruction of special warheads in the P3 area in Nibae;

(b) Explanations of decisions and actions undertaken to collect remnants of special warheads for presentation to an UNSCOM inspection team in April l992;

(c) Precise identification of pit locations of the specia1 warheads storage in the Tigris canal site and the Fallujah Forest site in a period starting 1 March 1991 until the removal of the warheads from these hide sites to the unilateral destruction locations,

(d) Explanations of why no remnants from some 50 warheads (both imported and indigenously produced) declared as unilaterally destroyed, were not recovered at the declared sites of their destruction;

(e) Updated material balance of missile warheads.

5. Request by the UNSCOM 242 inspection team (July-August 1998) related to indigenous production of engines for proscribed missiles:

(a) Removal for analysis of a number of missile engine components produced indigenously;

(b) Exp1anation of the timing of importation of comp1ete missile engine turbo pumps and their use in missile/engine tests,

6. A description of the investigation and termination of concealment after 1995.

 

Annex IV

Letter dated 20 November 1998 from the Executive Chairman of the Specia1 Commission established by the Secretary-Genera1 pursuant to Paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.

I wish to acknowledge receipt of Dr. Riyadh Al-Qaysi's letter of l9 November responding to mine of 18 November, addressed to you, dealing with the biological weapons issue.

I am fully aware of the confidence placed by the Government of Iraq in the comprehensive review which the Security Council intends to conduct subject to Iraq's resumption of cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 23 February l998. I too hope that such a comprehensive review might acce1erate progress towards the completion of UNSCOM's disarmament tasks.

In order for this to occur, as you know, the Council has decided that Iraq must demonstrate that it is prepared to fulfil all its obligations, including in particular on disarmament issues, by resuming full cooperation with the Special Commission and the IAEA.

It was to facilitate this process that I wrote to you on l8 November. The materials I sought were designed to clear away as many outstanding issues as possible prior to a comprehensive review and, of course, provide an opportunity to Iraq to demonstrate the full cooperation required to enable that review to begin.

In this light, I hope you might find it possible to see that a constructive reply to my letter of l8 November is prepared and forwarded as soon as possible.

Finally, I am forwarding you with this letter a copy of a letter I sent today to the President of the Security Counci1. I believe it is important for full dialogue between UNSCOM and Iraq to be maintained.

(Signed) Richard BUTLER