Iraq Letter to UN Secretary-General on Weapons Inspections & US/Russia Reaction, September 16-17
Full text of letter from Iraq Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, dated September 16.
I have the honour to refer to the series of discussions held between you and the Government of the Republic of Iraq on the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions on the question of Iraq, which took place in New York on 7 March and 2 May and in Vienna on 4 July 2002, as well as the talks which were held in your office in New York on 14 and 15 September 2002, with the participation of the Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
I am pleased to inform you of the decision of the Government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions.
The Government of the Republic of Iraq has responded - by this decision - to your appeal, to the appeal of the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, as well as to the appeals of Arab, Islamic and other friendly countries.
The Government of the Republic of Iraq has based its decision concerning the return of inspectors on its desire to complete the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and to remove any doubts that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction.
This decision is also based on your statement to the General Assembly on 12 September 2002 that the decision by the Government of the Republic of Iraq is the indispensable first step towards an assurance that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction and, equally important, towards a comprehensive solution that includes the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq and the timely implementation of other provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991).
To this end, the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections.
In this context, the Government of the Republic of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all member states of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions and in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations.
I should be grateful if you would bring the present letter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.
Source: Iraq's letter to UN - full text, BBC News Online, September 17.
Note: on September 16, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote (S/2002/1034) to the President of the Security Council (Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria), forwarding Foreign Minister Sabri's letter as an annex. Annan stated: "You will recall that I have, on several occasions, appealed to the Government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of United nations inspectors to Iraq in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. My discussions with Iraq and my appeals have been based on the commitment of the Security Council and all states members of the United nations to all the purposes and principles laid out in the Charter of the United Nations and guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions. I would like to inform you that the Foreign Minister of Iraq...has written to me indicating that the Government of the Republic of Iraq has decided to allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions. The Foreign Minister has also indicated that his Government is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections. As I had the honour to mention to the General Assembly a few days ago, this decision by Iraq is the indispensable first step towards an assurance that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction and, equally important, towards a comprehensive solution that includes the suspension and eventual ending of the sanctions that are causing such hardship for the Iraqi people and the timely implementation of other provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions."
'Statement by the Deputy Press Secretary, September 16, 2002'; The White House, Office of the Press Secretary.
As the President said, the UN Security Council needs to decide how to enforce its own resolutions, which the Iraqi regime has defied for more than a decade. This will require a new, effective UN Security Council resolution that will actually deal with the threat Saddam Hussein poses to the Iraqi people, to the region, and to the world. That is the course the Security Council is on, and the United States is engaged in consultations with Council members and other partners in New York at this time. This is not a matter of inspections. It is about disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi regime's compliance with all other Security Council resolutions. This is a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action. As such, it is a tactic that will fail. It is time for the Security Council to act.
'Regarding the Consent by Iraq's Leadership to the Deployment in the Country of UN Inspectors' Activity Related to Monitoring the Non-Resumption of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs', Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 1837-17-09-2002, September 17.
Moscow regards with satisfaction the consent by Iraq's leadership to the deployment of UN inspectors' activity in the country related to monitoring the non-resumption of Iraqi programs in the field of weapons of mass destruction. Russia had consistently been seeking to restore Iraq-UN cooperation in strict accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions. The early start of inspection activities in Iraq will constitute an important first step towards the Russia-promoted comprehensive settlement of the Iraqi problem with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. This will open the way for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. It is important that at this stage in the consideration of the Iraqi question there has appeared a real chance of solving it by political methods. Russia will resolutely try to ensure that this chance is not missed.
© 2002 The Acronym Institute.