USIS Washington 

11 January 1999


(UN Security Council will soon decide UNSCOM's future role) (530)

By William B. Reinckens

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- Richard Butler, Chairman of UNSCOM (United Nations
Special Commission), repeated his denial January 11 that UNSCOM's
weapons inspections programs for Iraq were used for spying.

"All assistance given to us were for the purposes of disarmament and
monitoring," Butler told a group of non-proliferation experts at a
conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International

"Over the next few weeks or months," Butler said, the United Nations
Security Council will make a final decision about the future role of
UNSCOM. He said council members are now engaged in a vigorous debate
and predicted that a new "modernized" UNSCOM would emerge with better
tools to carry out its mission.

Butler noted that while the Security Council debate continues, he has
ordered intelligence flights over Iraq by the United States and France
to cease.

"Our record is outstanding," Butler asserted when asked if the weapons
inspection program had lost it credibility because of recent news
accounts that it allegedly shared information with U.S. intelligence

Butler noted that over the past eight years, between 7,000 - 8,000
inspectors from 35 to 40 countries have served as weapons inspectors
in Iraq. "We have destroyed more weapons than during the (Gulf) war,"
he added. Having UNSCOM inspectors inside Iraq has been a deterrent to
Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs, pinpointed
weapons that were to be destroyed and identified dual use items that
could be used to produce chemical or biological weapons or for
missiles, Butler said.

Even though UNSCOM is not operating inside Iraq today, Butler noted
that its work continues and that the organization is finding valuable
information in its archives. He also said that he had no intention of
resigning from his post and predicted that once the Security Council
completes its review, UNSCOM will return to Iraq to complete its work.

"The purpose of all this is to bring Iraq into final compliance,"
Butler said. "It has taken eight years and the job is still not
completed." He blames Iraq for dragging out the arms inspection
process because "Iraq never kept its side of the bargain by not making
honest disclosure statements of its prohibitive weapons and weapons

Butler also denounced Iraq for "an active policy of concealing weapons
and components from the commission."

"Iraq is a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the
biological weapons convention. Yet it cheated on them," he said.
"Iraq's behavior has raised very grave challenges to the authority of
the Security Council and the to the credibility of efforts to verify
compliance with the non-proliferation regime," he contended.

Butler further stated that there is international consensus supporting
UNSCOM's efforts to conduct weapons inspections and expanded
monitoring inside Iraq and that the current debate is "about what plan
to adopt."

Only through cooperation with UNSCOM inspections can Iraq ever have a
chance to see economic sanctions lifted, Butler declared.