France, Germany and Russia, three members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), on Monday proposed a timetable for the inspection and assessment of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
According to a copy of the memorandum be circulated among council members, the three countries asked the inspectors to submit the program of work, which outlines the key substantive tasks for inspections of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
They also urged the chief inspectors to report to the council on implementation of the program of work every three weeks.
According to the memorandum obtained by Xinhua,, UNMOVIC and IAEA, the two agencies entrusted with weapons inspections in Iraq, should submit a report 120 days after the adoption of the program of work in accordance with resolution 1284.
The executive chairman of UNMOVIC and Director General of the IAEA shall report immediately to the council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities as well as failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, the memorandum said.
It also proposed that at any time additional meetings of the council could be decided, including at high level.
France, which has led the opposition to a rush to war that has strong council support, was widely expected to circulate a proposal to strengthen UN weapons inspections with the aim of disarming Iraq peacefully. Germany and Russia later joined France in proposing the timelines.
Highlights of France's memorandum on Iraq
France, Germany and Russia presented to the United Nations Security Council a memorandum Monday calling for disarming Iraq through step-by-step inspections.
The memorandum, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua, is a counter proposal to a draft resolution circulated the United States, Britain and Spain on the same day seeking UN support for military action against Iraq.
Following are highlights of the two-page memorandum:
1. Full and effective disarmament in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions remains the imperative objective of the international community. Our priority should be to achieve this peacefully through the inspection regime. The military option should only be a last resort. So far, the conditions for using force against Iraq are not fulfilled;
2. The Security Council must step up its efforts to give a real chance to the peaceful settlement of the crisis. In this context, the following conditions are of paramount importance:
-- The unity of the Security Council must be preserved;
-- The pressure that is put on Iraq must be increased;
3. These conditions can be met, and our common objective -- the verifiable disarmament of Iraq -- can be reached through the implementation of the following proposals:
-- Clear program of action for the inspections:
According to resolution 1284, UNMOVIC and IAEA have to submit their program of work for approval of the Council. The presentation of this program of work should be speeded up, in particular the key remaining disarmament tasks to be completed by Iraq pursuant to its obligations to comply with the disarmament requirements of resolution 687 and other related resolution.
-- Reinforced inspections:
Resolution 1441 established an intrusive and reinforced system of inspections. In this regard, all possibilities have not yet been explored. Further measures to strengthen inspections could include: increase and diversification of staff and expertise; establishment of mobile units designed in particular to check on trucks; and completion of the new system of aerial surveillance.
-- Timelines for inspections and assessment:
The inspectors should be asked to submit the program of work outlining the key substantive tasks for Iraq to accomplish, including missiles/delivery systems, chemical weapons/precursors, biological weapons/material and nuclear weapons in the context of the report due by Feb. 28, 2003.
The chief inspectors shall report to the Council on implementation of the program of work on a regular basis (every three weeks).
A report of UNMOVIC and IAEA assessing the progress made in completing the tasks shall be submitted by the inspectors 120 days after the adoption of the program of work according to resolution 1284.
4. To render possible a peaceful solution inspections should be given the necessary time and resources. However, they can not continue indefinitely. Iraq must disarm. Its full and active cooperation is necessary. This must include the provision of all the additional and specific information on issues raised by the inspectors as well as compliance with their requests, as expressed in particular in Mr. Blix's letter of Feb. 21, 2003. The combination of a clear program of action, reinforced inspections, a clear timeline and the military build-up provide a realistic means to reunite the Security Council and to exert maximum pressure on Iraq.
US, Britain, Spain present draft new Iraq resolution to UN
The United States, Britain and Spain Monday submitted a draft new Iraq resolution to the United Nations Security Council, which is holding a closed meeting dominated by the Iraqi issue.
The draft document was formally presented by British UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock on the behalf of the three countries.
On the other side, France, Germany and Russia are expected to submit to the meeting their joint counter plan, which recommends astep-by-step program of peaceful disarmament of Iraq.
In a copy of the draft US-British-Spanish document obtained by Xinhua earlier, the United States, Britain and Spain declare that Iraq "has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in resolution 1441."
The one-page draft says Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations.
It also declares that the Iraqi arms declaration contained "false statements and omissions" and "has failed to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, that resolution (1441)," and thus the country constituted "a further material breach.
The draft document does not set any deadlines. But the United States and Britain made it clear they want the UN Security Council to vote by mid-March.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told a regular news briefing Monday that the United States does not expect the Security Council to take many days to discuss a new resolution on Iraq, saying that such a document should be voted on in short order.
"The president (George W. Bush) expects it to be voted on in short order. (But) I think it's impossible to specify an exact date," Fleischer said.