Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Under Secretary

29 November 1998

Excellency

With reference to your letter dated 27 November 1998 addressed to H. E. Mr. Tariq Aziz the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq.

I should like to note first that the tasks of the missions requested by Iraq to be conducted jointly with teams from UNSCOM, as indicated in my letter dated 26 November, are, from our point of view, not related substantively to disarmament tasks but issues which could be addressed through joint work with UNSCOM to gain further c1arifications when needed. Seen in this light, these issues could not prevent a final determination that the disarmament phase has already been accomplished. The pursuance of these issues could, if need be, very well be continued during the monitoring phase.

As regards the specific points stated in your above-mentioned letter, I should like to respond in accordance with the sequence mentioned therein.

1. We need the deployment by UNSCOM of survey and detection equipment including ground penetrating radar and chemica1 agent monitoring detector. The locations of work are:

A- The site where expired munitions are normally destroyed inside the fenced area of the munitions storage at al-Aukhaider. This site is composed of four areas two of which are approximately 50 by 50 metres. The two others are approximately 25 by 25 metres. The nature of the soil [is] flat and sedimentary.

B- The burning area of the trailor-truck near Khan al-Ruba'a along the road of Karbala-Najaf. The approximate dimensions of the area are 150 by 40 metres. The nature of the soil is sandy.

C- And possibly, the site where expired munitions are normally destroyed outside the fenced area of the munitions storage at a1-Aukhaider, called al-Kusseer. The approximate dimensions of this site is 2 by 2 kilometres. This site contains pits with a [sic] of 10 to 15 metres radius. The nature of the soil is sedimentary and undulating.

It is anticipated that the required work will take from 7 to 10 days.

It is to be noted that all these sites were visited by UNSCOM-248 on 30 Ju1y l998.

As for the records of all investigations referred to in my letter of 25 November, I should like to recall that our investigations were internal and the briefings thereon which were presented to the competent authorities were oral and showed no conclusive conclusion as regards the fate of the munitions in question. All re1evant facts related to our latest efforts were included in the report of Maj.Gen. Muhamed Shakir a copy of which was handed over to UNSCOM 248 in July 1998. It is necessary to point out in this connection that the most important step to be undertaken is the actual work on the ground which we hope will commence as soon as possible.

In addition, as I pointed out in my letter, this issue is important to the internal security of Iraq, and it is this reason that prompted the Iraqi competent authorities to undertake its efforts to resolve it even before it had been raised by UNSCOM.

2- We understand that what remained of the task related to the R-400 comprises simply the accounting of the tail units of those bombs which are at the stores of' the Iraqi Airforce. We hope that this task will be completed in a very short period.

3- We hope that you will issue immediate instructions to the BMVC to carry out the task mentioned in paragraph 3 of your letter. We stand ready to commence our joint work with the BMVC immediately.

I should also like to inform you that the document related to the armament of Missile Unit 223, comprising 65 pages, was transmitted today by the National Monitoring Directorate to the Acting Director of BMVC under cover of a letter Reference No 1379 dated 29 November 1998.

Incidentally, I have been noticing numerous statements by Your Excellency that you need 2 to 3 weeks to be in a positions to formulate a report on whether Iraq has returned to full cooperation. Since those statements were made at different dates I wondered what commencement date for the said period you have in mind specially in view of the fact that we adopted our decision to resume cooperation with UNSCOM on 14 November 1998.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest considerations.

[signed] Dr. Riyadh al-Qaysi

 

H.E. Mr. Richard Butler

The Executive Chairman

UNSCOM

New York