TITLE:U.N. EXPECTS TO RESUME WEAPONS INSPECTIONS IN IRAQ (01/19/93)
U.N. EXPECTS TO RESUME WEAPONS INSPECTIONS IN IRAQ
(Baghdad assures safety of U.N. personnel) (470)
By Judy Aita
USIA United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- The standoff between Iraq and the United Nations
Security Council's Special Commission overseeing the Iraqi weapons
destruction (UNSCOM) appeared to be over January 19 and the U.N. is making
plans to return its inspectors to Iraq.
1mbassador Rolf Ekeus, UNSCOM chairman, said that the commission received
"'a short note verbale'" from Baghdad that "we take seriously and look upon
in a positive light." The note said that Iraq approves the resumption of
inspections "under the previous modalities," Ekeus added.
Speaking with journalists after a private meeting with the Security Council,
Ekeus said that he also received "very clear" verbal assurances from Nizar
Hamdoon, Iraqi ambassador to the U.N., regarding the safety and security of
the U.N. personnel and aircraft.
Ekeus said that Iraq's statement and the verbal assurances from Hamdoon
"could be interpreted as acceptable" and while he "can't assume it, really,
we are hopeful (the dispute with Iraq) is over at least at this moment."
The chairman said that he is "quite optimistic and we are pressing ourselves
to fly into Iraq with our teams" in the next few days. "Tomorrow we have
to analyze the situation and prepare our people and get further information
from the ground. But we will start as soon as we are assured it can be
safely done," he said.
Ekeus added that he hoped it was the final chapter "in this sad story" that
began earlier in the month with Iraq's denial of the U.N. flights and
culminated in air attacks against Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition forces.
The Security Council has reportedly received a lengthy communique from Iraq
covering several aspects of the conflict between the U.N. and Iraq,
including the no-fly zones as well as UNSCOM. However, Ekeus said that he
was basing his assessment on the Iraqi diplomatic note on the flights.
Asked about the unity of the allied coalition which conducted air strikes in
Iraq during the dispute, Ekeus said that he found "good unity."
He added that UNSCOM "under extremely difficult circumstances" assessed the
"fanciful conditions and vague threats to our personnel" but "on every
response -- every response -- we came with a new opening. We were very
generous and very constructive in opening up" opportunities for Iraq to
fulfill its cease-fire obligations.
Responding to Iraqi charges that UNSCOM employed U.S. Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) agents, Ekeus said "they are wrong. We have no CIA agents
"Of course, we get briefings from various services and we welcome that. But
we have an information assessment unit: they give us data and we evaluate
it. Sometimes it's impressive sometimes its useless."
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