Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

UN Chief Pushes Weapons-Monitoring Plan for Iraq

TOUGH new plans to wipe out Iraq's clandestine weapons-development programs surfaced at the United Nations Friday, a year to the day after Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar says that under the long-term eradication and monitoring plan he has proposed, civilian as well as military sites, facilities, material and activities throughout Iraq would be subject to highly intrusive inspections on demand. If adopted by the Security Council, the plan would include some of the most rigid UN requirements ever imposed on a sovereign nation. Iraq would be made to accept "at any time and without hindrance aerial overflight by ... aircraft with appropriate sensors." But the resolution also would authorize UN experts to "inspect vehicles, ships, aircraft or any other means of transportation within Iraq," and interview any worker or Iraqi official. It calls for unrestricted freedom to enter and exit Iraq, and freedom of movement within Iraq, for all UN experts. The UN chief suggested that monitoring begin as soon as the plan is approved by the Security Council - even before UN teams finish disposing of all of Iraq's existing weapons of mass destruction. "This would, at an early stage, prevent Iraq from developing new capabilities regarding the relevant weapons categories," Mr. Perez de Cuellar said. Cease-fire terms demand destruction of all chemical and biological weapons and all nuclear-weapons-usable material, as well as ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers (90 miles). The Secretary-General's new plan also would oblige Iraq to disclose the number and location of all missiles with a range greater than 75 kilometers (46 miles). Perez de Cuellar also proposed that some mechanism be established for countries to provide the UN with information about sales or supplies to Iraq of dual-use items that have both peaceful and military applications. Biological and toxic materials are also covered. Hans Blix, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported Friday that "despite nearly 1,000 inspection days and an extensive mapping of nuclear activities in Iraq, the Agency has not yet been in a position to come to a conclusion on a complete inventory." Iraq's Foreign Minister Ahmad Hussein gave a lengthy list of previously-undisclosed Iraqi nuclear activities to the UN on July 7. Citing the 1981 Israeli bombing of Iraq's Tammuz reactor, the minister explained that although Iraq's nuclear program has been a peaceful program, "Iraq had sound reasons of national security" not to disclose it, because the government feared "exaggeration, abuse, and aggression." The UN Special Commission reported July 25 that the Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission and Deputy Minister for Industry and Minerals, as well as leader of the secret enrichment program, J. Jaffar, admitted a capability to produce highly enriched uranium to create a "political option." A fourth nuclear-inspection team left for Iraq July 25, and a UN team searching for biological weapons, which Iraq denies having, arrived in Baghdad Saturday. A team will take a look Aug. 8 at the 52-meter (170-foot) "super gun" Iraq recently admitted having. A complex, long-term chemical inspection program will start in mid-August, with about 70 experts spending six weeks or so reinspecting the heavily-contaminated Muthanna chemical weapons facility. The Special Commission reported last week that they had found 46,000 pieces of armament fitted with chemicals, the majority containing relatively harmless tear gas. Iraq declared only 11,000-12,000 - all loaded with lethal agents.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.