Tracking Number:  198685

Title:  "Security Council Insists Iraq Let Inspectors Leave." As 44 UN nuclear inspectors continued to withhold a bus-load of documents on Iraq's nuclear weapons program from Iraqi guards, the UN Security Council insisted that the team be allowed to leave with the documents. (910926)

Date:  19910926


09/26/91 HSECURITY COUNCIL INSISTS IRAQ LET INSPECTORS LEAVE SH(Will agree to inventory of documents) (720) BYBy Judy Aita BIUSIA United Nations Correspondent

TUnited Nations -- As 44 U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors continued to withhold a bus-load of documents on Iraq's nuclear weapons program from Iraqi guards, the U.N. Security Council September 26 insisted that the team be allowed to leave Baghdad with the documents intact.

After a private meeting, the council decided to instruct the Iraqi government by letter to work with the U.N. special commission to resolve the standoff with the inspectors immediately. While agreeing to let Iraq be present during an inventory of the documents the team possesses, it rejected Iraq's complaints about the inspectors themselves.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering warned that the situation "has grave consequences."

"The council rejects utterly and completely any aspersions on the character of the team or any individual members of the team," the ambassador said.

While Pickering indicated that the council's resolutions are unconditional, he added that "the question of modalities" on how that acceptance is worked out with Iraq is up to the U.N.'s special commission.

The Security Council is not delivering an ultimatum in the letter, the ambassador said, but he noted that its resolutions "are mandatory and should be complied with without conditions."

Iraq sent a letter to the council September 25 asking that the commission chairman, Ambassador Roulf Ekeus, go to Baghdad within 48 hours to work out the problem. Iraq also said that it wanted to draw up a record of the documents and film with the U.N. team.

The letter, from Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Abdul Amir Al-Anbari, also protested the team's actions, especially those of team leader David Kay. It said that the main source of the difficulty was the large number of U.S. nationals on the team. The Americans, it charged, are implementing U.S. policies and not the Security Council's mandate.

Council President Ambassador Jean-Bernard Merimee said that his letter on behalf of the council would "emphasize the full and strong backing of the council for the work of the commission and...reject the attacks which have been made by the Iraqi authorities against the integrity of the members of the commission's inspection team who are international civil servants and enjoy the full trust of the Security Council."

Merimee said he feels "there is a solution that will be satisfactory for the council." Ekeus made clear however that he would not go to Baghdad. The commission's proposal for Iraq was being worked out by U.N. satellite talks throughout the night between himself and team leaders David Kay and Robert Gallucci.

The procedure worked out "is not for negotiation," he said, but Iraqi officials will be allowed to be present during the inventory of the documents.

Ekeus said that care must be taken because "these arrangements done here will, of course, influence future conduct of our inspections. Our task is not concluded," he said, and the commission is concerned about setting precedents for future investigations. "We don't expect our future inspections to be carried out in a way that our team is locked in, sitting two days or three or four days or five days. That will not be our future procedure," he added.

Once the arrangements are concluded for inventorying the paper documents, video tapes and photographic film, Ekeus said, the process should be completed within hours. He also denied that any of the material already has been faxed out of Baghdad to U.N. headquarters.

Ekeus said he hopes get the team out "before the weekend, but it is a difficult situation." While the team has food rations and water and is "getting on reasonably well" under the circumstances, he said, "the hard fact is our team is very harshly blocked."

The United Nations and Iraq also are completing the procedure for the inspectors to use U.N. helicopters on other inspections. The commission's previous attempt to use its own helicopters was blocked, but Iraq has now agreed to allow the flights.

Ekeus said that the special commission planned to send another inspection team which would need the helicopters on September 29. But if the stand-off continues, the commission may decide to reschedule. NNNN

File Identification:  09/26/91, PO-405; 09/26/91, AE-410; 09/26/91, AR-418; 09/26/91, EP-402; 09/26/91, EU-408; 09/26/91, NE-406
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Thematic Codes:  1UN; 1AC; 1UN
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  198685