Tracking Number:  197698

Title:  "Talks Underway Regarding Iraqi Weapons Inspections." The White House announced that the US and other members of the UN Security Council have been discussing the most appropriate means to continue inspections in Iraq following the Iraqi government's continued refusal to cooperate. (910918)

Translated Title:  Emprenden conversaciones sobre inspecciones de armas Iraquies. (910918)
Date:  19910918


09/18/91 * TALKS UNDERWAY REGARDING IRAQI WEAPONS INSPECTIONS (No decision on deploying U.S. air support) (1460) By Dian McDonald and Russ Dybvik USIA Staff Correspondents

Grand Canyon, Arizona -- The White House announced September 18 that the United States and other members of the U.N. Security Council have been discussing "the most appropriate means to continue inspections in Iraq" following the Baghdad regime's continued refusal to allow U.N. helicopters to fly unimpeded there.

White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said in a statement that "consistent with those discussions, military planners have examined options to provide helicopters and support necessary to continue U.N. inspections" associated with missions to oversee the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its continuing ballistic missiles threat.

"But there has been no decision to deploy these U.S. forces, nor will such a decision be required if Iraq complies with the provisions of U.N. Resolutions 687 and 707," Fitzwater said.

At an impromptu news conference in the Grand Canyon, President Bush said he believes Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "will see that we are very serious about this and he will do what he should have done in the first place -- disclose and comply."

The president said he does not believe the Iraqi leader wants to see a resumption of military conflict in the Persian Gulf. "I don't think Saddam wants any of that....I'm confident he doesn't, absolutely confident," Bush said.

He also announced that the United States is sending U.S. Patriot units to Saudi Arabia in response to its request. Fitzwater noted that Saudi government has requested the deployment "as a deterrent against the continuing Iraqi missile threat."

The United States, Fitzwater said, "has granted the request for this purely defensive system in light of the current Iraqi threat and continued Iraqi non-compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions."

Bush said no deadline has been set for Saddam Hussein to comply with the U.N. measures. But he stressed that "it's clear what he has to do. So we're just doing what's right here and there's no threats, there's just determination....firm determination that he will comply to the letter of the U.N. resolutions."

Under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 687 and 707, Iraq is obligated to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missile capabilities. Iraq is also required to permit U.N. Special Commission and International Atomic Energy Agency inspection teams to verify Iraqi compliance.

Fitzwater emphasized that in order to fulfill its inspection responsibilities, the United Nations Special Commission "needs to be able to use its helicopters and other aircraft over Iraq. Iraq has refused to allow U.N. helicopters to operate unimpeded in Iraq. This is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 707, which permits the use of helicopters without condition," he said.

Soon after arriving at the Grand Canyon for an address on the environment, Bush was asked if the Iraqi president has run out of time; he replied, "A long time ago."

Responding to questions about the deployment in a television interview in Washington, Defense Secretary Cheney said it is prudent for the Pentagon "to be involved in planning for contingencies and that's exactly what we're doing."

Cheney said the United States has been working through the United Nations and with coalition nations to persuade Saddam Hussein to allow the inspection teams to have "unimpeded access to Iraq." It is very important that the Iraqi leader understand "that he has no choice but to comply" with the U.N. resolutions, the secretary emphasized.

At the State Department, deputy spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters Iraq has been warned that the United States "will not tolerate" Baghdad's continued non-compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions, which require the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction and its missile capabilities.

"The president said, if necessary, we'll take action to ensure Iraqi compliance," Boucher said. "I think that speaks for itself," he added.

"Iraq is obligated under U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities," the deputy spokesman pointed out. "To date, it has failed to comply with this and other relevant U.N. resolutions.

"Moreover, Iraq continues to employ concealment and deception to evade U.N. Special Commission inspection teams in order to preserve the capability to produce and deploy these weapons illegally," Boucher continued. "Most recently Iraq denied the U.N. Special Commission the right to use U.N. helicopters in support of its inspections. Now Iraq is attempting to impose conditions on the use of these helicopters. This is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 707 which permits the use of helicopters without conditions.

"Iraq will continue to pose a threat to countries in the region until it complies fully with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," the deputy spokesman declared. "We have told Iraq that failure to comply unconditionally with the Security Council's mandatory resolutions will have grave consequences." He cited a September 16 letter from President Bush to Congress, which was made public by the White House.

The letter notes that Iraq has permitted some access to facilities related to weapons of mass destruction. It says that the inspectors have viewed some ballistic missiles and chemical munitions and catalogued large volumes of equipment related to Iraq's nuclear and other programs.

It goes on to say, however, that Iraq continues to misrepresent the scope of its programs in these areas, to use deception and concealment to prevent inspection teams from locating equipment subject to elimination under resolution 687, and to deny inspection teams full and unrestricted access to facilities associated with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.

This pattern of behavior as well as other Iraqi violations of the requirements of Security Council resolution 687 resulted in the adoption on August 15 of resolution 707 which condemns Iraq for these actions and holds its in material breach of its obligations, Boucher said. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors voted on July 18 to find Iraq in violation of its safeguards agreement and thus of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"The issue here is compliance with mandatory resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. It's a process that was established by the Security Council after the (Persian Gulf) war to ensure the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," he said. Until that process is completed, and Iraq has fully complied with the relevant resolutions, Boucher said, "we believe that Iraq will continue to pose a threat to the region."

"The United States will not tolerate the continuation of this situation -- that is Iraqi non-compliance in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions -- and, if necessary, will take action to ensure Iraqi compliance with the council's decisions," Boucher said, citing the president's letter to Congress.

Asked if the issue was a new "crisis," the deputy spokesman replied: "I'm not going to use any new adjectives on this one. We have said very clearly that Iraq's non-compliance could have grave consequences. I think that message is very clear. It's the message that we've been conveying in our public statements. It's the message that Ambassador Pickering has conveyed to the Iraqis in New York. But more important, it's the message that's coming out of the U.N. Security Council."

When asked what Iraq must now do, the deputy spokesman replied: "Permit full access by the inspectors, fully disclose what it has, and most importantly allow the inspectors to use their helicopters without any conditions being attached." He added: "In the end, it's action, not words that count. But certainly the first step might be their saying that."

Later, a senior State Department official told reporters the U.S. would not wait "too long" for Iraq to comply. He said the use of their own helicopters by the U.N. teams was a "very important issue that gets to the ability of inspectors to carry out surprise inspections." The official acknowledged the United States was particularly concerned that the Iraqis "continue to hide aspects of their nuclear program."

Meanwhile, a senior administration official who was asked about Secretary of State Baker's impasse with Israel on its request for loan guarantees, said he had "nothing to say that didn't come from the (Baker) party." U.S. officials "made the same case to Israel that the president made to the Congress," he explained, "a very clear, very reasonable case and it should not have caused this uproar, and should not prejudice the resolution of the issue....We're just saying we want a 120-day delay to let the peace process go forward; hopefully, a (peace) conference can begin in October. NNNN

File Identification:  09/18/91, PO-309; 09/19/91, AS-403; 09/19/91, AR-404; 09/19/91, EP-408; 09/19/91, NX-401; 09/18/91, WF-U03
Product Name:  Wireless File; USINFO
Product Code:  WF; US
Languages:  Spanish
Thematic Codes:  1UN; 1AC; 1NE
Target Areas:  AR; EA; NE; AF; EU
PDQ Text Link:  197698; 197690