Security Council Introduction by Ambassador Butler

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August 11, 2008

Scope of UNSCOM Mandate and Activities to Oct 1998

The [Security] Council established the Special Commission at the end of the Gulf war as part of the ceasefire. It is an innovation in conflict resolution. Two fundamental objectives were set out. First, to get rid of existing prohibited weapons and associated infrastructure and secondly to assure that Iraq does not undertake to use, develop, construct or acquire any of the prohibited items in the future. For this task, the monitoring system of [Security Council] resolution 715 was established.

The Commission has worked on these objectives for seven years. A simplified summary of the focus of work would be the following:

  • 1991-1993 ¬†Disarmament and accounting for the obvious: SCUD Force, CW munitions, agent and production facilities.
  • 1994 Design, baseline inspections and establishment of Ongoing Monitoring and Verification system (delayed until Iraq acknowledged resolution 715 in November 1993)
  • 1995 Attempts to complete verification of Iraqi SCUD declarations (imported only) and CW production. Vigorous investigation to prove offensive BW program despite Iraqi denials. Iraqi threats to end cooperation and Hussein Kamal defection.
  • 1996-1997 Attempts to verify the extent of the newly revealed programs and establish extent and termination of concealment efforts.
  • 1998 Resolve crises over rights of access and remaining accountability problems. Review monitoring system.

The Commission has had an uneven history in its work in Iraq, but much has been accomplished in disarmament and the basic monitoring system has been established. Given the history of deception in Iraq and the need to account fully for proscribed programs for monitoring to be effective, verifiable accounts and material balances are the immediate priority. It is also important that the work and precedents set now in monitoring recognize that ultimately they will have to work in a post embargo and sanctions environment. This means one in which a much larger amount of commerce and dual-use equipment is active in Iraq. It may also be a time of reduced influence by the Commission in Iraq. Hence, the importance of establishing necessary access and compliance in monitoring.

In 1991, resolution 687 adopted by the Council demanded that Iraq destroy, under international supervision, all its weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, as well as its related weapons production capabilities.

Rather than carry out in full the obligations it accepted, Iraq chose to retain proscribed weapons and capabilities. It declared and presented to UNSCOM only a small portion of its proscribed weapons for supervised destruction, while keeping the rest concealed.

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