Tracking Number:  205779

Title:  "UN Ends Talks on Iraqi Chemical Weapons." A UN team of chemical weapons experts headed by Bryan Barrass ended a week of technical talks on the upcoming destruction of Iraq's massive chemical weapons arsenal but held off making any final recommendations on what approaches will be used. (911127)

Translated Title:  Irak: Fin des negociations sur les armes chimiques. (911127)
Date:  19911127


11/27/91 * (FRENCH COMING)

U.N. ENDS TALKS ON IRAQI CHEMICAL WEAPONS (Arms destruction facilities discussed) (570)

UNITED NATIONS -- A U.N. team of chemical weapons experts ended a week of detailed technical talks in Baghdad on the upcoming destruction of Iraq's massive chemical weapons arsenal, but it held off making any final recommendations on what approaches will be used, the United Nations said November 26.

The U.N. team selected separate sites at the Muthanna chemical weapons facility for the destruction of the mustard and nerve agents and instructed the Iraqis to clear them of all residual hazards such as unexploded ordnance, the United Nations said.

The team, headed by Professor Bryan Barrass of the United Kingdom, reviewed an Iraqi proposal for a mustard agent incinerator, concluding that modifications would be required and agreed on a pilot program to test a process for eliminating nerve agents by caustic hydrolysis.

Iraq has suggested a "pilot plant" at the Muthanna site which, the experts said, could eventually lead to a full- scale destruction facility there. The commission also is considering other possible approaches with significantly less Iraqi involvement, the U.N. said.

The destruction of the weapons is expected to get under way early next year, the United Nations said, but "a final decision on who will ultimately be given responsibility for destroying the large toxic arsenal has not yet been made."

The special commission has estimated that Iraq has about 46,000 pieces of field chemical munitions and 3,000 tons of precursors and intermediate materials, including missile warheads outfitted with nerve gas.

The experts are especially concerned about the huge site known as the Muthanna State Establishment, which has a large number of damaged weapons leaking mustard gas and nerve agents.

Meanwhile, exiled Iraqi opposition leaders are urging the Security Council to maintain its sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime and to take a stronger hand in the distribution of food and humanitarian supplies.

GE 2 AEF305 Dr. Laith Kubba, an opposition leader based in London; Syed Yousif Alkhoei, grandson of the Grand Ayatullah Alkhoei; and Ali Ali Al-Adhadh, a political refugee and member of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, stressed that there must be a larger U.N. presence in southern Iraq, where the majority of the Shia population lives. They also want U.N. humanitarian aid centers opened in major cities there.

Kubba warned that the international community must not be fooled by Baghdad's claims that sanctions are causing starvation among the Iraqi people, or that Saddam's regime is willing to compromise.

He pointed out that Britain's freeing of more than $100 million in Iraqi assets so Baghdad could buy food could set a disturbing precedent.

"What worries us (is that) if countries start carrying out bilateral agreements, then very likely the same food will be sold in the black market (by the regime); cash will be created; and it will be as if cash were handed over to Saddam Hussein," he said.

The real issue, he asserted, is not that "of lack of funds, but it is very much that of policies of distributing food. Iraqis are deliberately made to starve and their pain is displayed widely for political purposes."

The Security Council is scheduled to make its third review of Iraq's compliance with the cease-fire provisions early in December and decide whether to keep the wide-ranging mandatory economic and military embargo. NNNN

File Identification:  11/27/91, AE-305; 11/27/91, AF-313
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  French
Thematic Codes:  160; 1AC; 1UN
Target Areas:  AF
PDQ Text Link:   205779; 205778