USIS Washington 

03 March 1998


(UNSC passes resolution on Iraq) (1020)


The following is from late in the evening of March 2, the top item
from the UN's daily news round-up as prepared by the Central News
Section of the Department of Public Information; the UNSC resolution
was passed at about 8:15pm EST. on March 2:

(begin text)

-- Security Council endorses memorandum of understanding signed in
Baghdad, stressing that any violation would have "severest
consequences" for Iraq.

-- UN Official who accompanied the Secretary-General in Baghdad says
careful preparations led to agreement.

The Security Council on Monday evening endorsed the memorandum of
understanding reached by Secretary-General Kofi Annan one week ago in
Baghdad. At the same time, the Council stressed that any violation by
Iraq of its obligation under the memorandum and and relevant Council
resolutions to accord "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted
access" to United Nations weapons inspectors would have the "severest
consequences" for Iraq.

Following days of intensive deliberations, the Council adopted
resolution 1154 (1998) by a unanimous vote. The resolution invokes
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which allows for

The resolution commends the Secretary-General's initiative and
requests him to report to the Council as soon as possible on the
finalization of procedures for Presidential sites. Mr. Annan is
requested to prepare his report in consultation with the Executive
Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged
with overseeing the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,
and with the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA).

The Council reaffirmed its intention to act in accordance with the
relevant provisions of resolution 687 (1991) -- which spells out
conditions for lifting the sanctions against Iraq -- and noted that
"by its failure so far to comply with its relevant obligations Iraq
has delayed the moment when the Council can do so".

The Council further decided to remain actively seized of the matter
"in order to ensure implementation of this resolution and to secure
peace and security in the area".

"Whether the threat to international peace and security has been
averted for all time is now in the hands of the Iraqi leadership,"
Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council as the meeting
began. "It is now for them to comply in practice with what they have
signed on paper."

Mr. Annan said that with the Security Council's resolution, Iraq
should understand that "if this effort to ensure compliance through
negotiation is obstructed, by evasion or deception, as were previous
efforts, diplomacy many not have a second chance". The
Secretary-General further looked forward to the day "sooner or later
-- and we pray sooner" when a fully disarmed and peaceable Iraq would
be able to rejoin the family of nations.

The Secretary-General also predicted that if the agreement succeeded,
it would spell "an enduring and invaluable precedent for the United
Nations and the world community."

"If, ultimately, we have learned the right lessons of this crisis,
then this planet's age-old prayer for enduring peace with justice may
be within our reach," Mr. Annan said. "It was that prayer, from people
of every faith and every frontier, that sustained me on my journey for
peace in Baghdad. I pledge today, before this Council and the world,
to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield in the fulfilment of my
duty," he concluded.

"Any -- repeat any -- attempt by Iraq to provide less than immediate,
unrestricted, unconditional access to any site will, as this
resolution states, result in the severest consequences for Iraq," said
United States Ambassador Bill Richardson. "Unless Iraq demonstrates
that it is ready to rejoin the international community and abide by
the rules of civilized behaviour, it can expect nothing but certain
punishment and continued isolation," he warned.

China's Ambassador said his country still had misgivings about the
"possible abuse" of the resolution. "Therefore, I wish to stress here
that the passing of this resolution in no way means that the Security
Council automatically authorizes any State to use force against Iraq,"
said Qin Huasun. He further emphasized that the Council should not
predetermine the future course of action.

This view was shared by Russia's Ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, who said
the resolution clearly gave the Security Council responsibility for
its implementation. "Any hint has been excluded about automaticity
with regard to the application of force, which would be unacceptable
for the majority of the Council." If the memorandum was violated --
and it was hoped that it would not be -- the Council would discuss
what action to take. "No one can ignore the resolution adopted today
and attempt to act by bypassing the Security Council," he stated.

A member of the Secretary-General's delegation to Iraq last week said
on Monday that careful preparations had paved the way for the
successful conclusion of the memorandum of understanding.

Ahmad Fawzi, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in
London, said the Secretary-General's extensive consultations in
advance of his trip had mobilized consensus support for the mission.
"Before he boarded the plane, he already had the support of the
Security Council, the support and encouragement of the leaders of the
region, and his own assessment based on a thorough study of the file
of the inspections portfolio." Mr. Fawzi further noted that the
Secretary-General had sent a mapping team to the presidential sites
before he even left New York.

In an interview with United Nations Radio, Mr. Fawzi also attributed
the success to the Secretary-General's diplomatic skills, noting that
in Baghdad, "most of the intensive consultations and talks with the
Iraqis were quite constructive."

Echoing the views of others, Mr. Fawzi said that in addition to
averting a military confrontation, the conclusion of the agreement had
served to reassert the prestige of the United Nations as a peacemaking
body and the role of the Secretary-General as a "statesman of
goodwill" who works according to the Charter to reduce tensions and
avert military confrontation throughout the world.

(end text)