Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Under Secretary

December 1, 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 in which you referred to the issue of the so-called Air Force document, I should like to inform you that our position remains the same as that stated in the letter dated 22 November1998 addressed by the Deputy Prime Minister to the President of the Security Council which reads as follows:

1. While we stand by the description of the required paper as stated in the clarifications annexed to our letter of 19 November; we should like to point out that the Executive Chairman c1aims that the so-ca11ed Air Force document will enable UNSCOM "to verify and to account credib1y for all proscribed weapons which remained in Iraq after the Gulf War" as "the Commission has to know the total holdings of Iraq's chemical weapons and their disposition prior to the adoption of Resolution 687 (1991)." This argument can be refuted by the following reasons:

1.1 The paper does not provide any details of the chemical munitions expenditure other than the total quantity per year of two types of munitions calibres without any indication of the type of the chemical agent filled. Therefore,

there is no useful information to be gained for material balance purposes.

1.2. The total expenditures does not necessarily equal the total quantity produced. Allowance has to be made for rejects, leakages and discarded batches as is well known manufacturing practice.

1.3. Only a rough idea of the empty munition accounting can be obtained from the paper as the bulk chemical filling is not identified.

1.4. Most importantly; the total holdings of Iraq's chemical weapons prior to the adoption of Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) is given in full details at the end of the 1990 inventory of the Muthannna State Establishment for:

-- all types of empty and filled munitions.

-- all quantities of bulk agents produced remaining unfilled

-- all chemica1 precursors.

-- all other items and assets normally stored at the establishment.

In this connection, we would like to recall what we stated in the pertinent part of the clarifications annexed to the letter of 19 November 1998, which read as follows: "Should UNSCOM still require the handing over of the paper relating to any question regarding the material balance of special munition, we should like to recall in this connection the provisions of paragraph 5 of the MOU of 23 February 1998, which calls for following the procedures hitherto established. One of the established procedures as you know, is the Joint Programme of Action of 22 June 1996, which provided the undertaking of the parties to work in transparency and sharing information. On that basis, Iraq is ready fully to consider with an expert team of UNSCOM the contents of the relevant portions of the paper under consideration in full transparency in the presence of the Personal Representative of the Secretary General.. We are confident that through this mechanism, we could resolve this issue and alley [sic] the Concerns of UNSCOM."

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

[signed] Dr. Riyadh al-Qaysi

 

H. E. Mr. Richard Butler

The Executive Chairman

UNSCOM

New York