Tracking Number:  184192

Title:  The special commission established to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, led by Ambassador Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, submitted its first report to the UN Security Council, saying it plans to check the accuracy of Iraq-supplied information with on-site inspections. (910520)

Date:  19910520


05/20/91 UNITED NATIONS REPORT, MONDAY, MAY 20 (Iraqi weapons) (950)


The special commission established to destroy Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons submitted its first report to the Security Council May 18 saying that it plans to check the accuracy of the Iraq-supplied information with on-site inspections.

The special commission -- which is handling the U.N.'s first multilaterally organized disarmament -- was established by the Security Council's cease-fire Resolution 687 and began meeting at U.N. headquarters May 6. Ambassador Rolf Ekeus of Sweden is executive chairman and Dr. Robert Gallucci of the United States is deputy executive chairman. Disarmament experts from 19 other nations serve on the commission.

The commission's first task is to gather accurate information on the location, number, and condition of weapons to be destroyed. The on-site inspections, therefore, will also help determine the magnitude of the task of disposal of weapons and facilities that the commission will handle later on, the report said. The on- site inspections will be carried out by both the special commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The second stage of the process will involve the actual disposal of weapons.

"The volume of work as well as the physical state of the various objects, installations and facilities subject to inspection, and the paramount concern regarding the safety of the inspection teams and the local population make it difficult to establish at the present stage the exact time- frame within which the first stage can be concluded," the commission said.

Iraq will destroy all its ballistic missile capabilities, including launchers under the supervision of the special commission, the report said. The special commission and IAEA, with Iraqi assistance, will dispose of nuclear- weapons-usable material as well as missile warheads fitted with chemical warfare agents.

The disposal of ballistic missiles and related items and facilities "should not pose any danger to public safety as

GE 2 POL108 it involves a largely mechanical operation" and will be carried out at the site, if possible, at the time of the initial on-site inspection. Those items not disposed of immediately will be secured, sealed and documented for later disposal, the commission said.

Repair and production facilities "appear no longer operational as a result of the hostilities," the commission said.

Given the danger of the chemical weapons, the commission said their disposal will begin only after thorough on-site inspection and assessment of stocks and facilities. The inspection teams are to mark munitions and facilities with "tamper-indicating" devices and plan to monitor the stocks during the time between the inspection and the disposal.

The commission plans to neutralize or burn the weapons as close to the facilities as possible and is investigating the use of transportable or mobile destruction equipment as well as the construction of a destruction facility in Iraq, the report said.

According to the commission's information, most of Iraq's chemical weapons research and manufacturing facilities "may have been destroyed" by the war.

The commission will also determine whether Iraq has any biological weapons-related items that should be destroyed.

Iraq told the United Nations that it has more than 1,300 chemical weapons bombs, 280 tons of mustard gas, and 52 ballistic missiles, but said it did not possess any biological weapons or related items. Iraq says it has 16 sites for workshops, research and development labs, and productions sites for mustard gas, sarin and intermediary materials, but all sites were destroyed. Also listed were sites of 53 conventional and chemical warheads, 4 missile launchers, 4 missile platforms, fuel storage tanks, and tanker trucks.

Iraq said it does not possess nuclear weapons; nuclear- weapons-usable materials; or research and development facilities to produce nuclear weapons.

However, Ekeus said at a recent press conference that the commission estimates that Iraq has about 600 tons of chemical weapons and the commission has indications "from some governments that there are more chemical weapons than Iraq has disclosed."

The plans for the third stage -- long-term monitoring and verification that Iraq does not resume manufacture of the destroyed weapons -- will be submitted after the commission has a complete picture of Iraq's capabilities and what must be destroyed. But the commission said the verification

GE 3 POL108 will be by "full and effective on-site inspections including those on short notice." The frequency of on-site inspection will vary for each type of weapon and "will be contingent on previous findings and also on Iraq's clear and continuous demonstration of compliance with Resolution 687."

The commission will have a small staff at U.N. headquarters in New York to plan the Iraqi field operations, such as the composition of the teams of experts, their movements and activities. A field office will be located in Bahrain where the teams will assemble, be briefed before entering Iraq, and return for debriefing and initial sample and data analysis.

The IAEA conducted its first on-site inspection of Iraqi nuclear facilities May 15. The 34-person team included IAEA officials, experts, and members of the special commission.

The nuclear material is located in the Tuwaltha area, 30 kilometers north of Baghdad where there are two research reactors, the report said. According to Iraq's statement, the facilities "contain fresh or irradiate fuel assemblies" and "appears to be stored in accessible conditions."

The material cannot be destroyed or rendered harmless in Iraq, the IAEA said, so the agency will have to take custody.

Other direct-use material is buried under the rubble of a reactor building and "a complex and costly decommissioning operation will be needed to render this material accessible for removal and disposal," according to the IAEA. NNNN

File Identification:  05/20/91, PO-108; 05/20/91, AE-113; 05/20/91, EP-108; 05/20/91, EU-103; 05/20/91, NE-108; 05/21/91, AR-208; 05/21/91, NA-204
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Arabic
Thematic Codes:  1UN; 1NE; 1AC
Target Areas:  AF; EA; EU; NE; AR
PDQ Text Link:  184192