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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions

September 16, 1992

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102 - 1), and as part of my continuing effort to keep the Congress fully informed, I am again reporting on the status of efforts to obtain Iraq's compliance with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council.

Since the events described in my report of July 16, 1992, Coalition members have decided upon further measures to implement Security Council Resolution 688, which requires Iraq to end the repression of its civilian population immediately, to allow immediate access by international humanitarian organizations to all parts of Iraq, and to make available all facilities for the operation of these organizations. Far from complying with Resolution 688, in recent months Saddam has increased his repression of the civilian population in both the northern and southern parts of the country. In southern Iraq, according to U.N. Human Rights Commission Rapporteur Max Van der Stoel, Iraqi authorities use jet fighters, helicopter gunships, and scorched earth methods and have drained marshlands, thereby depriving residents of food and leaving them vulnerable to military repression. United Nations workers in southern Iraq, harassed by Iraqi officials, have been unable to learn fully the extent of Iraqi repression.

Members of the Coalition have reviewed means available to assist the United Nations in monitoring Iraqi compliance with Resolution 688. The Iraqi Foreign Minister has informed the United Nations that Iraq would not accept U.N. monitors. The Coalition has decided to begin aerial reconnaissance of southern Iraq to monitor the situation. Moreover, the Coalition has announced that Iraqi aircraft and helicopters will not be permitted to fly south of the 32d parallel. This "no-fly zone" is similar to that established in northern Iraq as part of Operation Provide Comfort and will include expanded monitoring of southern Iraq from the air. As in northern Iraq, United States, British, and French Coalition forces are enforcing the no-fly zone south of the 32d parallel. As a result of the no-fly zone, Iraqi use of aircraft to conduct repression of the civilian population in the region, in particular the bombing of citizens around marsh areas, has stopped.

I have ordered U.S. participation in the enforcement of the no-fly zone and expanded aerial surveillance of southern Iraq under my constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102 - 1).

Since the events noted in my last report, the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) has continued to investigate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program and to verify the destruction of relevant facilities, equipment, and weapons. The most recent ballistic missile inspection, August 8 - 18, 1992, found new information on Iraq's ballistic missile program, including confirmation that facilities not previously reported by Iraq were involved in that program. (In July 1992, Iraq had provided what it called a "full, final, and complete" report on its WMD program; as subsequent inspections have revealed, this report is incomplete. U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 required that Iraq provide a full report in April 1991.) The 14th nuclear inspection team, from August 31 - September 7, verified the destruction and rendering harmless of facilities and equipment at Ash Sharqat and Tarmiya, two mirror-image facilities for uranium enrichment, and made arrangements for the destruction of remaining facilities. It also began water sampling of Iraqi rivers, to measure any level of radioactivity that might indicate an operative water-cooled reactor nearby. Regular inspections of declared and suspected sites will continue.

These inspection efforts have been subjected to Iraqi interference. Most notoriously, Iraqi authorities refused to admit an UNSCOM team into the Agriculture Ministry for three weeks, even though Resolution 687 requires that Iraq permit "urgent" inspections of any location designated by UNSCOM and Security Council Resolution 707 requires Iraq to allow immediate and unrestricted access to any such area. When the inspection took place, it appeared that information had been removed from the Ministry and files altered. In the weeks before entering the Agriculture Ministry, UNSCOM inspectors suffered petty acts of harassment, demonstrations by large crowds that appeared likely to become violent, vandalism of vehicles, and armed attacks; subsequent inspection teams have also been harassed. For a short time, Iraqi officials voiced opposition to the participation of Coalition members in UNSCOM inspections. They have also said that they will deny UNSCOM access to government ministries.

The Security Council and Coalition members have responded to each Iraqi interference with diplomatic means. We have been prepared to employ stronger measures, however, and our resolve has played a crucial role in obtaining Iraqi compliance. We will remain prepared to use all necessary means, in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, to assist the United Nations in removing the threat posed by Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons capability.

UNSCOM continues to face a shortage of funds. We have recently contributed $30 million, bringing our contributions to a total of over $40 million since UNSCOM's inception. We have persuaded other nations to contribute as well and expect at least $30 million in additional contributions to reach UNSCOM in the next several months. More funding will be necessary, however.

Following increasing Iraqi challenges to the work of the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission, Iraq informed the Secretary General that it would no longer participate in the Commission's work. Its announcement does not affect the Commission's competence under Security Council Resolution 687. On July 24, the Commission made a further report to the U.N. Secretary General describing its findings on the land boundary between Iraq and Kuwait. On August 26, in Resolution 773, the Security Council welcomed the Commission's decisions and underlined its guarantee of the inviolability of the boundary and its decision to take all necessary measures to that end. The physical demarcation of the land boundary is expected to be completed by the end of the year. In addition, in October the Commission plans to renew its consideration of the offshore boundary.

Since my last report, the U.N. Compensation Commission has continued to prepare for the processing of claims from individuals, corporations, other entities, governments, and international organizations that suffered direct loss or damage as a result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The next session of the Governing Council of the Commission is scheduled in Geneva September 21 - 25, 1992, with a further meeting in December.

At an informal meeting on August 7, the Governing Council discussed the continuing serious financial difficulties confronting the Commission. These difficulties persist, despite a $2 million dollar loan from the Kuwaiti Government, received in June, and an additional $1 million dollars from the United States, which was noted in my last report. The Commission must now develop computer software and services needed to process claims, at an estimated one-time cost of $2.8 to $6.6 million and an annual cost of about $1.2 million. Unless funding is found immediately, the Commission's financial difficulties threaten to delay or halt the entire compensation process.

Meanwhile, the Commission has released to governments the forms for claims by governments and international organizations (Form F). On July 6, the Department of State distributed the forms for claims by corporations and other entities (Form E) to over 500 potential U.S. claimants. The Department also continues to collect and review over 1,500 claims received from individuals and has scheduled its next filing of such claims with the Commission in September.

In accordance with paragraph 20 of Resolution 687, the Sanctions Committee has received notices that approximately 3.1 million tons of foodstuffs have been shipped to Iraq thus far in 1992. The Sanctions Committee also continues to consider and, when appropriate, approve requests to send to Iraq materials and supplies for essential civilian needs. Iraq, in contrast, has for months maintained a full embargo against its northern provinces. Iraq has also refused to utilize the opportunity under Resolutions 706 and 712 to sell $1.6 billion in oil, most of the proceeds from which could be used by Iraq to purchase foodstuffs, medicines, materials, and supplies for essential civilian needs of its population. The Iraqi authorities bear full responsibility for any suffering in Iraq that results from their refusal to implement Resolutions 706 and 712.

Through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United States, Kuwait, and our allies continue to press the Government of Iraq to comply with its obligations under Security Council resolutions to return some 800 detained Kuwaiti and third-country nationals. Likewise, the United States and its allies continue to press the Government of Iraq to return to Kuwait all property and equipment removed from Kuwait by Iraq. Iraq continues to withhold necessary cooperation on these issues and to resist unqualified ICRC access to detention facilities in Iraq.

I remain grateful for the support of the Congress for these efforts and look forward to continued cooperation toward achieving our mutual objectives.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dan Quayle, President of the Senate.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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