United
Nations


UNITED NATIONS

UNSCOM

UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COMMISSION

3 December 1998

Excellency,

During informal consultations on 24 November, the members of the Security Council agreed that the United Nations Special Commission should provide to the Council, in the period prior to a possible comprehensive review, brief weekly reports on its activities. On instructions from the Executive Chairman of the Commission, I am sending you herewith the enclosed report. This first report covers all of the activities of the Commission from the return of the Commission's monitoring teams to Baghdad on 17 November up to 2 December. Following reports will be issued on a weekly basis.

Accept, Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.

[signed] Charles Duelfer

Deputy Executive Chairman

Officer-in-Charge

His Excellency

Mr. Jassim Mohammed Buallay

President of the Security Council

United Nations

 

 

Report on the activities of the Special Commission during the period 17 November to 2 December 1998

1. UNSCOM Inspection Groups' Activities

Monitoring Summarv

1. The Special Commission's Monitoring Groups resumed inspections on 18 November 1998. In the period up to 1 December 1998,the Biological, Chemical, Export-Import and Missile Monitoring Groups and Aerial Inspection Team conducted a range of inspections for the purposes of ongoing monitoring and verification. The sites included those containing dual-use items of equipment and materials which are regularly subject to monitoring inspections, as well as sites less frequently visited. A number of technical support missions to maintain the Commission's sensors and cameras were also undertaken.

Other Inspection Activity

Chemical

2. Inspection Team UNSCOM 257 (CW 52) conducted inspections in Iraq from 23-27 November. The inspection was a supplement to the regular monitoring inspections using analytical equipment to assess activities at sites.

Biological

3. Inspection Team UNSCOM 253 (BW 70) arrived in Baghdad on 1 December. The purpose of the inspection was to investigate the research and development undertaken for Iraq's offensive biological warfare programme.

Observations

4. Given below, is an account of relevant incidents during the course of UNSCOM's work:

(a) On 23 November 1998, an Iraqi escort helicopter took off and passed over a UN helicopter at low speed and low altitude, not more than ten metres from the ground. The Iraqi helicopter continued to fly over the area only slightly higher, making two full circles above the UN helicopter on the ground. The threat to the safety of the UN personnel caused by this action was brought to the attention of the NMID. The NMD claimed that the helicopter had landed at an unsafe site and had to move to a safer site;

(b) During an inspection on 26 November 1998, the representatives of the NMD stated that they were not in a position to facilitate access to a site, stating that it belonged to and was under the control of the Iranian Mojahedin. The Executive Chairman decided to withdraw the team pending the resolution of claims regarding the special nature of the site. In subsequent and ongoing discussions with representatives of the Iranian Mojahedin it has been recognized that inspection teams have the right to visit any site in Iraq; and

(c) During the period, an undeclared Class II Biosafety Cabinet and some filter presses were discovered. These items are subject to declarations by Iraq and biological monitoring.

 

II. Correspondence with Iraq and the Security Council

5. On 17 November, the Executive Chairman addressed a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq seeking documents to assist in the accounting for and verifying the status of Iraq's proscribe weapons programmes (S/1998/1106 Annex I). The letter stated that the documents sought fell into two categories. The first category concerned supposed documents which do not exist and the second comprises a repetition of earlier requests in respect of which Iraq had already submitted truthful clarifications which are all that are available.

6. On 18 November, the Executive Chairman addressed a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, asking that Iraq provide new substantial information on its proscribed biological programme (S/1998/1106/Annex II). On

19 November, Dr. Al Qaysi responded expressing concern that the Commission's request substantially widened the outstanding work to be done in the biological field and stated that the comprehensive review would determine whether the disarmament phase had been completed or whether steps in the biological files need to be taken to fulfill the requirements of the disarmament phase (S/198/1106 Annex III). On 20 November, the Chairman wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister, asking that Iraq might find it possible to see that a constructive reply to his letter of 18 November be prepared and forwarded to the Commission as soon as possible. No further response has been received.

7. On 19 November, the Executive Chairman wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister seeking explanations and clarifications and other responses it had sought from Iraq on the most important outstanding issues listed in the Scheule for Work dated 14 June 1998 (S/1998/1106 Annex III). Iraq responded on 25 November.

8. On 20 November, the Executive Chairman wrote to the President of the council, forwarding the majority of the correspondence mentioned above, and provided UNSCOM's analyses and commentary on the Iraqi replies (S/1998/1106). The Deputy Prime Minister sent a letter to the President of the Council dated 22 November, stating Iraq's position on the issues raised in the Chairman's letter of 20 November (S/1998/1108).

9. Iraq responded on 25 November to the letter of the Executive Chairman of 19 November, seeking clarifications and explanations on certain oustanding issues (5/1998/1125). Iraq's letter provided little new information, reiterating its previously and known positions. However, Iraq's letter stated that from Iraq's point of view, the "contamination" (of VX) could not but have been the result of' a deliberate act of tampering with the first set of samples taken out from Iraq to the United States on 8 May 1998. Iraq7s letter also stated that UNSCOM's request for the removal for analysis of a number of missile engine components produced indigenously was not justified on technical or scientific grounds.

10. On 26 November, Dr. Al-Qaysi informed the Executive: Chairman that Iraq was transmitting to the Commission a report on the analyses of swab samples of special warhead remnants taken by the Iraqi side in July 1998, dated 10 September 1998, comprising 42 pages. The report has not yet been received at UNSCOM

headquarters in New York.

11. On 26 November; Dr. Al-Qaysi wrote to the Executive Chairman requesting three specific teams from UNSCOM be tasked with missions concerning the fate of 155 mm shells filled with the chemical weapons mustard; the verification 6f the tail units of R-400 bombs; and determining the precise locations of pits which had been used for the field storage of special warheads at Fallujah Forest and the Tigris Canal (S/I 998/1 128 Annex I). In response, the Chairman wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister on 27 November, noting with satisfaction that Iraq was ready to cooperate with the Special Commission on several specific issues referred to in the June 1998 Schedule for Work, which the Commission had been ready to undertake at the beginning of August 1998 (S/1998/1127 Annex 1). The Chairman sought some clarifications from the Iraqi side with respect to the first task (155 mm shells filled with mustard) and indicated that the second and third tasks would be carried out as soon as practically possible. The clarifications were received from Iraq on 22 November (S/1998/1128 Annex, III). The mission to determine the fate of the 155 mm shells will proceed when logistically possible.

12. On 27 November the Executive Chairman wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister reiterating the Commission's request that Iraq provide specific documents referred to in the annex to his letter of 17 November, in particular two documents, which according to Iraq's letter of 25 November, existed and had been requested from Iraq by 30 November (S/1 998/1127 Annex II). The first document was the "Air Force document"; the second being an account of the creation and armament of missile Unit 223

13. On 30 November Iraq delivered to the Commission a lengthy document (in Arabic) on missile Unit 223 which is still in translation.

14. On 1 December, Dr. Al~Qaysi wrote to the Executive Chairman in response to his letter of 27 November seeking documents. Dr. Al-Qaysi's letter informed the Chairman that Iraq's position remained the same as that stated in the Deputy Prime Minister's letter of 22 November to the President of the Security Council (S/1998/1108), and repeated verbatim large sections from that letter.