Security Council holds talks on 2 plans for disarming Iraq

News and Press Release
Originally published
As the Security Council gathered behind closed doors today in New York to consider two proposals for the disarmament of Iraq, United Nations inspectors continued to oversee the destruction of mustard-filled artillery shells.
Council members are meeting to discuss a draft resolution co-sponsored by Spain, the United Kingdom and United States that would have the 15-nation body decide that Iraq "has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in resolution 1441," which was adopted unanimously last November acknowledging that Iraq "has been and remains in material breach" of its disarmament obligations and gave the country a last chance to comply.

A second proposal, introduced by France, Germany and the Russian Federation, notes that the conditions for using force against Iraq have not been fulfilled since, while suspicions remain, no evidence has been given that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction. The text also stresses that the Council must step up its efforts to give a "real chance to the peaceful settlement of the crisis."

Meanwhile in Iraq, a chemical team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) returned to the Al Muthana site and supervised the successful drilling of eight remaining artillery shells filled with mustard as well as the detoxification of mustard taken from the shells, according to a UN spokesman in Baghdad. A second chemical team inspected the Northern Refineries Company in Baiji, approximately 240 kilometres north of Baghdad.

A biological team also returned to the Al Aziziyah Airfield and Firing Range and observed further digging in search of R-400 aerial bombs and bomb fragments. "Iraq claims that these bombs were filled with biological agents and destroyed at this site in 1991," spokesman Hiro Ueki said. "Additional fragments of R-400 bombs were identified."

In the capital, an UNMOVIC missile team inspected the David Bros Company in response to Iraq's declaration concerning a supplier of specialized missile equipment. The company is involved in supplying electronic equipment and mechanical components for missiles and in the research and development of remote piloted vehicle (RPV).

An UNMOVIC multidisciplinary team performed an aerial surveillance over and around two large sites situated west and southwest of Baghdad. "These sites correspond to the facilities which were involved in chemical and biological research and development in the past," Mr. Ueki noted.

As for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), one team inspected the State Establishment for Electrical Industries (SEEI), a small motors and electrical appliances manufacturer in Baghdad, while a second performed a car-borne radiation survey in industrial areas about 90 kilometres west of Baghdad.

The first Mirage IV surveillance operation was conducted successfully yesterday, Mr. Ueki added.