14 November 1998



As I informed the members of the Security Council at the conclusion of yesterday's meeting, I had decided to address a letter to President Saddam Hussein. A copy of that letter is attached.

When transmitting my letter through the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, I stressed the urgency of my appeal, while reiterating my strong hope that Iraq would immediately rescind its decisions of 5 August and 31 October and resume full cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA.

I am glad to inform the Council that this morning I received a positive response to my appeal from Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. I attach an unofficial translation of this response which I hope the members of the Council will have an opportunity to study before this afternoon's meeting.

I should appreciate it if you would share this letter and its attachments with the members of the Security Council.

(Signed) Kofi A. ANNAN

Annex I

Letter dated 13 November 1998 from the Secretary-General
addressed to the President of the Republic of Iraq

As you may know already, I interrupted an official visit to North Africa yesterday and returned to New York in view of the worsening crisis with regard to Iraq. This afternoon and evening, I met with the members of the Security Council for four hours in order to review the situation. I can report to you that without exception, all the members of the Security Council expressed preference for a diplomatic solution of the crisis. As you are aware, I have made continuous efforts myself over the past three months to bring about such a solution.

The Security Council also unanimously endorsed the press statement I issued in Marrakech on 11 November in which I addressed a personal appeal to you, Mr. President, to take the necessary steps for a diplomatic solution to become possible. For ease of reference, I am reproducing below the text of this press statement.

"I am saddened and burdened by the Iraqi decision of 5 August and 31 October not to cooperate with UNSCOM.

I strongly urge President Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Government to rescind its decision and resume immediate cooperation with UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors.

Iraq has maintained for a long time that it wants to see light at the end of the tunnel. I also want to see the lifting of sanctions, so that Iraq can regain its place among the community of nations. As I have said repeatedly, the only way to achieve this is for Iraq to fully cooperate with UN Security Council. The Security Council had agreed a way forward on a comprehensive review. I firmly believe that this offers Iraq genuine opportunity. The comprehensive review will map out the remaining steps, provided Iraq cooperates, thus allowing them to see light at the end of the tunnel.

The Iraqi leadership's decision not to cooperate with UNSCOM at a time when the Council was undertaking these efforts came as a surprise to me and, I suspect, to all Council members.

I, therefore, appeal once again to President Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi leadership to take this opportunity to resume cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA. This would be good for the Iraqi people, for the region and for the world."

The Security Council remains actively seized of this matter. I should, therefore, be grateful for an early response to my appeal.

(Signed) Kofi A. ANNAN

[Back to Listing of Letters between the SG and SC President in 1998]
[Back to Listing of Security Council documents]