(Iraqi weapons)  (690)


Technical talks between the Special Commission overseeing the destruction of

Iraqi weapons (UNSCOM) and top Iraqi officials ended September 10 with

little progress.

At a press conference at the end of the talks, UNSCOM Chairman Rolf Ekeus

said that "Iraq appears in principle to go along with the whole package of

how monitoring shall be carried out, but still we have no agreement, so to

say, on starting out these activities."

Iraq insists that start of the long-term monitoring of its weapons program

be linked to the council's lifting of the oil embargo, Ekeus said.

"Iraq would like to have an end of the stage of identifying and eliminating

existing (weapons) capabilities.  We are prepared to do that provided we

can be convinced that we found everything which is prohibited under the

resolution (outlining the Gulf War cease-fire demands), but we also demand

implementation immediately of the (monitoring) plans," he said.

During the talks, Iraq provided some additional information on production

facilities, chemical activities, missile production, and some suppliers

which, the chairman said, "are interesting and they are new, but they are

not solving the big problem."

Even on the technical information, he said, Iraq is holding back until it is

given "political assurances" that the oil embargo will be lifted.


Ekeus said that Iraq apparently feels that regardless of how thoroughly it

complies with the U.N. demands and UNSCOM and IAEA's certification, some

council members will block the lifting of the embargo.  He said that

Baghdad is exploring that theory with some members of the council.

The position of the Security Council is that "both the existing stage -- the

weeding out of existing capabilities -- and the (long-term monitoring)

plans be initiated and up and running" before the oil embargo could be

lifted, he said.  The details and linkage to the lifting of the embargo are

spelled out in paragraph 22 of the cease-fire demands.

Ekeus said that under the best possible conditions -- with full cooperation

from Iraq on all issue including lists of foreign suppliers and the

baseline inspections for the long-term monitoring successfully completed --

it would be nine months before he and International Atomic Energy (IAEA)

officials could recommend to the council that the embargo be lifted.

The talks, which began August 31, were the outcome of Ekeus' visit to

Baghdad in July to ease the crisis over Iraq's refusal to allow monitoring

cameras to be installed at two rocket test sites, and the underlying

problem of Iraq's refusal to accept the long term monitoring and

verification plan devised by UNSCOM regarding Iraq's re-acquiring chemical,

biological, nuclear and ballistic weapons banned by the council.

Ekeus said that he asked Iraq to turn on the cameras immediately but Iraq

said it would give the U.N. an answer after the delegation returns to

Baghdad.  Calling that "a disappointment," he said now "the process is on

hold" and he will not go to Baghdad for another round of talks without the

activation of the cameras.

The commission meanwhile is preparing a report for the Security Council that

would outline a sequence for completing the elimination of existing

capabilities and simultaneously beginning the long-term monitoring.

But Ekeus said that UNSCOM cannot draw up a timetable for events because of

Iraq's behavior over the last two years.  "The starting point for me is

very unclear, it depends upon Iraq," he said.

Maurizio Zifferero, deputy director general of IAEA, said that "the problems

of suppliers and sources of foreign technical advice is one of the

remaining outstanding issues for compliance."

IAEA, Zifferero said, is confident that most of the conventional supplier

and the technical assistance from governments have been identified either

by agency action of by statement made by Iraq.  "What we are left with is a

limited number of areas -- what we call critical supplies -- these are not

more than 5 or 6 where we would like to obtain firsthand information from

the Iraq first and then this information would be used for verification,"

he said.