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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  190813

Title:  "Pickering Testifies on Gulf Cease-Fire Implementation." Statement by Thomas Pickering, US Ambassador to the UN, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (910718)

Date:  19910718


07/18/91 *

PICKERING TESTIFIES ON GULF CEASE-FIRE IMPLEMENTATION (Text: Statement before House panel, 7/18/91) (3400)

Washington -- The U.S. permanent representative to United Nations, Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, in testimony before a congressional panel, outlined the progress in implementing the provisions of the U.N. Security Council resolutions relating to cease-fire in the gulf.

Testifying before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations and Europe and the Middle East of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee July 18, Pickering also noted the frustration the international body feels over repeated violations by Iraq of the terms of the cease-fire.

Following is the text of Pickering's prepared remarks to the congressional committee:


Chairman Yatron, Chairman Hamilton, Members of the Committees, I welcome this opportunity to address the Committees this morning and to report on the implementation of the major elements of the cease-fire agreement, Security Council resolution 687, reached last March between Iraq and the countries cooperating with Kuwait.

As you know, SC 687 represents a comprehensive program designed to assure Iraq's fulfillment of all resolutions occasioned by its invasion of Kuwait and to strengthen the basis for peace and security in the northern Persian Gulf. Its central provisions cover the following critical areas:

- elimination of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and weapons related activities, and of ballistic missiles;

- guidelines for the control of future arms sales to Iraq;

- modifications to and maintenance of the sanctions (embargoes) on Iraqi exports and imports;

- demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border;

- return of Kuwait and third country nationals;

- return of stolen Kuwaiti and other property;

GE 2 nxe407 - establishment of a compensation fund for direct loss or damage as a result of Iraqi aggression;

- creation of a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait and of a UN observer force to patrol it;

- and a commitment by Iraq that it will not in the future carry out or support acts of terrorism or terrorist organizations.

Chairmen Yatron and Hamilton let me begin my remarks by offering the observation that our experience with the implementation of the cease-fire resolution has been sharply mixed. On the one hand, we have been very pleased with the effectiveness and professionalism with which the United Nations, its specialized agencies and the IAEA have embraced the many complicated and novel challenges required for implementation of resolution 687. But at the same time we have been repeatedly frustrated, and in the case of its nuclear program, dismayed, by a pattern of Iraqi behavior ranging from delaying tactics in some areas - such as repatriation of people and property - to grave and outright violations of the cease-fire agreement in the area of Iraq's nuclear activities. Dealing effectively with Iraq's malfeasance has now become a central preoccupation of our efforts at the UN and of US foreign policy itself. Let me therefore open my remarks with a summary of our concerns regarding Iraqi statements and actions in the nuclear area.

Iraqi Nuclear Activities

To ensure against the reemergence of an Iraqi nuclear threat to its neighbors and the region at large, the Security Council, acting through resolution 687, unconditionally bound Iraq:

- not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons or weapons usable material, or any subsystems, components, or any research, development support or manufacturing facilities;

- to disclose the locations, types and amounts of all the above items;

- to place all of its nuclear weapons usable material under the exclusive control, for custody and removal, of the IAEA;

- to accept urgent on-site inspections and the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all items specified above;

- and to accept a plan for the future ongoing monitoring and verification of its compliance with these provisions.


GE 3 nxe407 - As Committee members are aware, we know now that Iraq has systematically violated every applicable injunction or prohibition I just listed. This is not the occasion to present an exhaustive record of Iraq's violations but let me try to summarize:

- Iraq has not fully disclosed its uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons capabilities. Despite numerous letters and lists Iraq has not provided an accurate accounting of its nuclear activities. In our view Iraq's last such letters, the 29 page communication of July 7 and subsequent addenda are still incomplete. To take one example, Iraq failed to notify the UN of a major enrichment facility and still insists that it is -6 plant with a peaceful purpose.

- Iraq has obstructed inspection efforts. Baghdad repeatedly violated the May 6 agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq, which detailed the rights, privileges, and immunities of the Special Commission and IAEA representatives. On June 23 and 25 at the Abu Gharaib site, and on June 28 at the Fallujah site, inspectors were denied access and the opportunity to photograph suspected nuclear areas, objects and related activities. Efforts were made to confiscate cameras, to intimidate by means of small arms fire and to deny urgent medical care to a team member. At both sites, objects to which inspectors sought access were removed before inspectors were permitted access. I should add that photographic evidence has led the IAEA to conclude that the removed material was clearly related to previously undeclared uranium enrichment activities. The Iraqis, realizing that their attempts at concealment have failed, have now admitted being engaged in a massive covert enrichment program.

- High level team not satisfied. A senior UN delegation was sent to Baghdad to exact commitments that would ensure immediate and unimpeded access to the objects sought on June 28. Iraq failed to give such commitments.

- Iraq has denied the right to use air transport. Notwithstanding their commitments to the contrary, Iraq has prevented inspection teams from using aircraft to support inspections, handicapping the teams' ability to conduct genuine challenge inspections outside the Baghdad area;

- Iraq now admits having a secret program for uranium enrichment. In its letter of July 7, Iraq acknowledged that it maintained an unsafeguarded, covert uranium enrichment program, involving three different processes for enriching uranium: electron magnetic isotopic separation (EMIS); ultra-centrifuge; and a chemical process. At the same time it has admitted producing no more than half a kilo of enriched uranium. The non-admission and continuation of this secret program, and the unilateral destruction of elements of the program violates Iraq's obligations under

GE 4 nxe407 687 as well as its safeguards responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and associated IAEA safeguards agreements. Inspection team members describe the EMIS program as "excellent quality, comparable in scope to the Manhattan Project" and estimate the total cost at $5 - $10 billion.

- We believe Iraq sought nuclear weapons. Iraq maintains that its extensive secret nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only. We and the IAEA disagree. As IAEA experts explained to the Security Council, the Iraqi multi-billion dollar electro-magnetic enrichment program (EMIS), makes no sense as a peaceful program aimed at nuclear power development. As an IAEA expert later commented, powering a nuclear reactor by enriched uranium produced by this method would consume five times the energy which the reactor would create.

Next Steps

The foregoing list suggests, at a minimum, that Saddam has not gotten the message. He does not yet realize that the United Nations Security Council, and the United States in particular are "deadly serious", as President Bush said a week ago But we are.

As an earnest of our seriousness we have joined with the other Permanent members of the Security Council to make the following unconditional demands upon Iraq:

1. That it provide by July 25, the full, final and complete disclosure required by resolution 687.

2. That it allow the Special Commission (UNSCOM), the IAEA and their inspection teams unhindered use of Iraqi airspace for inspection, transportation, logistics and surveillance purposes on terms they themselves shall establish.

3. That it allow UNSCOM, IAEA and their inspection teams immediate unconditional and unrestricted access to anything they wish to inspect.

4. That it cease movement immediately of any material or equipment related to its nuclear, chemical, biological or ballistic missile programs without notification to and consent of UNSCOM.

5. That it immediately make available to IAEA, UNSCOM and their inspection teams any items to which they were previously denied access.

6. That it provide or facilitate immediately any transportation, medical and logistical support requested by UNSCOM, IAEA or their inspection teams.

GE 5 nxe407 7. That it respond fully, completely and promptly to any questions or requests from UNSCOM, IAEA, and their inspection teams.

Iraq must not miscalculate a second time. Its pattern of reckless defiance of the expressed will of the international community is intolerable. The United States, together with the other members of the Security Council are determined that it will not be allowed to continue.

Other Weapnos of Mass Destruction

In addition to its intensive work in the nuclear area, the Special Commission has conducted numerous inspections and some destruction of other Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. In the case of ballistic missiles for example, a total of 61 have been inspected and destroyed, along with a quantity of launchers, related equipment, and production capacity. While this number represents all of Iraq's declared surviving missiles, our best estimates suggest a much larger number remain unaccounted for. UNSCOM Is inspections of designated suspected sites will therefore continue.

As you know, Iraq has denied that it manufactured or possesses biological weapons. Here again we have reason to believe this is false. UNSCOM will commence shortly inspections of sites it designates in order to test the Iraqi claim.

The chemical weapons effort is now fairly far along. UNSCOM has inspected one of 12 declared sites, confirmed the presence of hundreds of tons of previously declared bulk agent (nerve and blister) and thousands of filled munitions, including missile warheads, bombs and rockets. Its overall finding is that Iraq's chemical arsenal is subject to widespread leaking and overpressure and is generally in a highly unstable condition. UNSCOM is now preparing a destruction plan which will require bringing existing mobile and transportable disposal facilities from other countries to a central location in Iraq where the bulk agent and munitions will be brought for destruction.


The activities of UNSCOM not related to disposal work or long-term verification are expected to cost in excess of $35 million for 1991 alone. The removal and destruction of chemical and nuclear weapons related materials will cost many times this amount although a reasonably reliable estimate cannot be made until a destruction regime for chemical weapons -- the most problematic element -- is developed. However, projections on the order of $100 - $200 million have been made. These expenses are entirely due to the reckless and unlawful behavior of Iraq; hence the Security Council decided in resolution 699 that Iraq should

GE 6 nxe407 bear the full costs of all activities carried out under the weapons of mass destruction section (c) of 687.

This week, as requested by the Security Council, the Secretary General offered his recommendations for the most effective way of assuring payment. His report suggests an arrangement under which sanctions would be lifted for a limited period, under clearly defined conditions, to permit a supervised sale of oil or oil products. The proceeds of this sale would be deposited in a UN account and used to pay for the costs of carrying out the weapons of mass destruction section of resolution 687. While this or another arrangement chosen by the Security Council is being established, and in view of UNSCOM's need for immediate resources, resolution 699 encourages members to provide bridging assistance in cash and in kind. The US has already contributed $2 million dollars and a small number of vehicles, Japan has made a modest contribution and many other countries have provided in-kind support.


Directly related to the provisions on weapons of mass destruction are those dealing with the continuation of restrictions on exports to Iraq, and the prohibition on imports from Iraq. Regarding the former, you will recall that 687 eased the strictures of the then existing embargo by permitting the sale or supply of foodstuffs, with a notification to the Sanctions Committee. It also permitted sale or supply, on a 'no objection' basis, of materials and supplies for 'essential civilian needs' as identified in the March report of UN Under Secretary General Ahtisaari.

With the benefit of these changes, the Committee has, since March 22, received notifications of exporters' intentions to ship more than 2 million tons of foodstuffs to Iraq, or nearly one ton for every 9 Iraqis. This total does not include notifications to the Sanctions Committee in which actual amounts do not appear, nor does it include much of the food provided by coalition countries as part of operation Provide Comfort. Using the "essential civilian needs" provision Iraq has also imported a wide variety of goods over a similar period, including fuel, generators, medicine and medical equipment, water pumps and water treatment systems, motor vehicles, temporary shelters, and so on.

While I'm on this subject let me say that the Sanctions Committee has routinely approved applications for provision of any equipment related to food production, water purification, sewage treatment, power generation or any other category integral to essential civilian needs which has been denied by the Sanctions Committee. Let me also add that a rapidly growing proportion of the above are commercial sales. This suggests that Baghdad has access to

GE 7 nxe407 significant funds, notwithstanding official statements to the contrary.

Finally, paragraph 21 of 687 provides for a Security Council review of Iraqi government policies and practices every 60 days to ascertain whether there should be a further lifting of restrictions on exports. The emphasis on 'policies and practices' of the Iraqi government is intentionally broad so as to permit its application both to Iraqi fulfillment of 687 as well as to the government's treatment of its own population. At the first 60 day review, which took place last month, a majority of Council members believed Iraq's actions in both areas were unsatisfactory and the existing restrictions were maintained. In view of Iraq's violations and lack of good faith on nuclear weapons activities described a moment ago, we expect a similar result at the review coming up in August.

The 687 provision for exports from Iraq is very clear. It provides for the complete lifting of the embargo upon the satisfaction of two conditions : (1) fulfillment by Iraq of all its obligations under section (c) of 687, dealing with elimination of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles; and (2) approval by the Security Council of the Secretary General's proposals for dedicating a portion of the value of Iraqi petroleum exports to a compensation fund for the payment of claims against Iraq.

On May 20, the Security Council satisfied the second of these requirements by adopting, in resolution 692, the Secretary General's report proposing the establishment of a Compensation Fund and Commission. Unfortunately, Iraqi violations of 687's provisions on weapons of mass destruction, which I described a few moments ago, suggest that the first condition for renewed Iraqi exports is a very long way from being fulfilled.

You will recall that under paragraph 23 the cease-fire resolution also empowered the UN Sanctions Committee to approve exceptions to the prohibition on Iraqi exports when it can be shown that Iraq needs the additional revenue to meet essential civilian needs. This week the Committee received a report on conditions within Iraq prepared by the Secretary General's Executive Delegate Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, as a consequence of which the Security Council may soon explore a measure permitting oil exports sufficient to generate resources to meet minimum humanitarian needs under full and complete United Nations control as suggested by Sadruddin Aga Khan.

I believe Assistant Secretary Bolton plans to address the Sadruddin report in some detail in his remarks, so I will focus on a related matter. Specifically, let me say that in the event the Security Council does adopt a paragraph 23 exception to sanctions to meet the legitimate humanitarian

GE 8 nxe407 needs of the Iraqi population, we would want to protect two related concerns as well. First and foremost, we must continue to deny Saddam any external financial resources. This would necessitate a paragraph 23 regime that ensures total UN control over 100% of the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales and the purchases made with those proceeds. It must also impose strict monitoring to ensure equitable distribution of the food and humanitarian goods procured so that Saddam cannot continue his practice of diverting foodstuffs from the needy to his party and military loyalists. Second, we would be interested in developing a formula for allocating the revenues of Iraq's paragraph 23 sales among all the critical activities mandated by the cease-fire resolution for which Iraq is directly responsible, including the Special Commission budget.

Arms Embargo

Resolution 687 also called upon the Secretary General to develop guidelines for the reinforcement and continuation of the arms embargo against Iraq. Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons weapons technology, and dual use technology, are permanently banned. Conventional weapons are also banned although with a provision for a review 4 months from the passage of 687 and regularly thereafter in the light of Iraqi compliance with 687 and regional progress towards arms control. In resolution 700, adopted on June 17, the Security Council accepted the Secretary General's proposed guidelines, requested member states to report within 45 days on measures taken to conform with them, and entrusted the Sanctions Committee with the task of monitoring compliance.


Another central component of the cease-fire resolution was a provision calling for: a fund financed from Iraqi oil exports, to compensate those injured by Iraq's aggression; a settlement process to handle claims; and a Commission to manage the process and award payments. Last May, as required by 687, the Secretary General proposed a general plan for the organization and operation of the Governing Council which will administer the Fund as well as a specific number as the ceiling for the percentage of Iraqi exports of petroleum and petroleum products to be dedicated to the Fund.

The ceiling suggested by the Secretary General, 30%, was lower than the 50% favored by the United States which we believe is warranted by the need to assure rapid settlement of claims against Iraq, by the need to allow for windfall gains that could accompany a sharp increase in oil prices, and by the speed at which we believe Iraq could recover its oil production capability. Nevertheless, we could accept the 30% level so long as 30% is also the portion of oil

GE 9 nxe407 export revenues actually dedicated to the Compensation Fund.

While neither the Executive Secretary nor any of the Commissioners of the Fund have been appointed, we expect appointments shortly and are expressing our views regarding qualified candidates. The Geneva-based Governing Council will be holding its first session on July 23 which is scheduled to last for two weeks.

The Belgian member has been selected to serve as Council President. Regarding the agenda of this first session, one of our chief concerns is that the Council will treat settlement of claims by individuals as a priority and to that end will use this first meeting to adopt simple criteria for their submission.

Boundary Demarcation

Resolution 687 demanded that Iraq and Kuwait respect the inviolability of the boundary to which both agreed in 1963 and sought the assistance of the Secretary General for its demarcation. The first Geneva meetings of the demarcation commission set up by the Secretary General concluded July 12. After initial obstructionist tactics by the Iraqi delegate, the commission succeeded in deciding the western boundary of Kuwait and also made progress on the northern boundary. The off-shore border is slated to be on the agenda of the commission's August session. Once this phase is complete the commission will move to the actual physical emplacement of markers on a boundary line. This process, which is of course climate dependent, could start as early as September and is likely to rely to some extent on marker placement by helicopter in view of the continuing hazard of land mines.

Return of Kuwaiti and other Nationals

As you will recall, the cease-fire resolution reconfirms Iraq's responsibility, in cooperation with the ICRC, to repatriate and account for all Kuwaitis and third country nationals being held in Iraq. Over the past several months Iraq has been releasing these people in fairly small numbers on a more or less regular basis, but Iraq has not yet fulfilled its responsibilities under resolution 687. While the ICRC and Kuwait cannot state with absolute precision the number of Kuwaitis and third country nationals (claiming Kuwaiti residence) still held in Iraq, the best estimates are that there are as many as 1700 Kuwaitis and 1900 third country nationals from more than 20 states.

Return of Property

The return of Kuwaiti property has moved at a slow and frustrating pace, explained in part by the disarray in Iraq

* PAGE 10 PAGE 10 nxe407 itself but also in our view by delay tactics on the part of Baghdad. The sides appear to have agreed to carry out the transfers at Arar in western Saudi Arabia and have also agreed that the contents of the first property restitution shall be gold, coins and bank notes. Discussions concerning the second transfer are now proceeding and it appears that this will involve either military hardware, which Iraq says it has inventoried, or museum pieces. Unfortunately, the Iraqi government introduced a further complication by attempting to argue that the logistics of the transfer operation required the release of Iraqi fixed wing aircraft which were detained outside the country as required by Security Council decision. The Sanctions Committee has rejected this gambit and United Nations officials are now exploring alternative means for transporting the stolen property to the transfer point.


One of the early successes made possible by the cease-fire resolution has been the establishment of the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait and an observer unit to patrol it. Established April 8th, under Security Council resolution 689, the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) drew participants from 32 countries. UNIKOM's original complement of more than 1400 personnel included 640 infantry temporarily assigned to provide security for the observer units until stability returned to the border area. UNIKOM's early success in restoring calm however, made possible the withdraw of the infantry companies ahead of schedule. The mine clearing activities of the observer force have also been progressing well, with the focus of UNIKOM's efforts now directed primarily to the southwestern sector where the borders of Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia meet. Violations of the DMZ are now minimal and typically involve nationals of Kuwait or Iraq who either lose their way or make use of the mine-cleared areas to traverse the border safely.


On June 11 Iraq presented letters to the Security Council President and the Secretary General in fulfillment of resolution 687's demand for an official Iraqi statement forswearing terrorism. While making the patently false assertion that Iraq has never pursued a policy favorable to international terrorism, the text does fulfill the requirements of this provision of 687 and conforms with recent General Assembly resolutions on the subject.

Resolution 688 and Humanitarian Issues

The humanitarian situation in Iraq in general and Saddam's actions toward the Kurds and Shia in particular are matters of grave and immediate concern which are directly relevant to the subject of this hearing. However, as I noted earlier

* PAGE 11 PAGE 11 nxe407 in my remarks these subjects are treated at length in the testimony you will shortly receive from Assistant Secretary Bolton, so with your permission I will omit humanitarian issues from my prepared remarks, although of course I will be happy to accept your questions.


In conclusion I want to return to the issue of Iraqi compliance because it is impossible to overstate the importance which the United States attaches to it. Iraq's failure to fulfill the provisions of 687, particularly relating to its weapons of mass destruction and its nuclear activities, are serious violations of the cease-fire that would directly imperil international peace and security in the area. Furthermore, non-compliance would unhinge the capacity of 687 to serve as a foundation stone for a new structure of peace and security in the region, one of the reasons we and so many others-fought a painful and costly war. Finally it would have the transcendently poisonous effect of subverting the respect for international law so long sought and so dearly won. Let there be no mistake, defiance of the cease-fire cannot and will not be tolerated. Thank you.


File Identification:  07/18/91, NX-407; 07/19/91, NA-504; 07/23/91, NA-208; 07/24/91, NA-305
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Arabic; Arabic; Arabic
Document Type:  TXT
Thematic Codes:  1AC; 1UN; 1NE
Target Areas:  NE
PDQ Text Link:  190813

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