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

July 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 compliance by Iraq with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council.

Since the events described in my report of May 15, 1992, the Iraqi Government has provided what it terms a "full, final, and complete" disclosure of its programs for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Iraqi report, which reached the United Nations 2 months after it was originally promised, is now under review by the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The preliminary assessment of these organizations is that the Iraqis have provided little new information. The Iraqis also have provided the United Nations with a "Compliance and Monitoring Report," which aims to satisfy the requirement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 175 for a list of all sites subject to long-term monitoring. UNSCOM is assessing this report.

As of July 1, UNSCOM and IAEA have conducted 38 inspections in all four weapons categories. From May 26 to June 4, the 12th nuclear inspection team oversaw the destruction of three buildings at the al Atheer nuclear weapons fabrication facility. It also inspected uranium enrichment sites at Tarmiya and Ash Sharqat to prepare for the destruction and the rendering harmless of utilities and ventilation systems during the 13th inspection in July. The Iraqi Government continues to refuse IAEA requests for records detailing foreign suppliers of its nuclear weapons program.

A small Chemical Destruction Group entered Iraq on June 19. This team will spend several months in Iraq establishing a base and overseeing the long-term destruction of Iraqi chemical agents and weapons at the Muthanna Establishment. The operation will be run by a large multinational group, including two Americans. UNSCOM estimates the operation will take 12 to 18 months to complete. A second combined chemical and biological weapons team was in Iraq from June 26 to July 4 conducting inspections and destroying dual-use chemical production equipment.

From May 14 to 22, the 11th ballistic missile team inspected five sites, completed verification of Iraqi destruction of SCUD missile production and launcher components, and verified the destruction of missile production equipment. The 12th ballistic missile team is in Iraq from July 9 to 17 to inspect undeclared sites.

We view with particular concern the refusal by Iraqi authorities to grant immediate access by UNSCOM inspectors to the Agricultural Ministry in early July. The President of the U.N. Security Council has characterized this refusal as a material and unacceptable breach of Resolution 687. We are resolved that Iraq must not be allowed to defy the Security Council and evade its responsibilities under this resolution.

Continued Iraqi intransigence with respect to compliance with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions led UNSCOM to initiate a program of aerial surveillance of WMD activity in Iraq on June 21. Utilizing UNSCOM's German helicopters, two to three flights will be flown per week, with five to six sites covered on each flight; this program will provide more immediate and accurate information about Iraqi facilities. We strongly favor this aggressive approach by UNSCOM, which will broaden UNSCOM's ability to find suspect sites as well as conduct long-term monitoring.

UNSCOM continues to face a shortage of funds. U.S. efforts to alleviate this problem will result in payment of approximately $30 million for UNSCOM by the end of July. Discussions are ongoing with other nations regarding contributions by them to UNSCOM.

Since my last report, there has been further progress at the U.N. Compensation Commission concerning preparations 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 Governing Council of the Commission held its sixth session in Geneva from June 22 to 26 and has scheduled further meetings in September and December. (A meeting tentatively set for November has been cancelled.) At its June session, the Council approved the final part of the rules of procedure (the first three parts were approved in March). The entire set of rules was then issued as a Council decision. The rules provide a practical, nontechnical system for processing claims. The Council also decided that members of the Allied Coalition Armed Forces who were prisoners of war and mistreated in violation of international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, are eligible for compensation in accordance with the claims criteria previously adopted.

The Council continued its discussion of the "embargo loss" issue and agreed on a statement for the record promising that the issue of priority of payments would be considered. Also during the session of June 22 to 26, the Commission released to governments the form for corporate claims (Form E). The Council also reviewed the draft form for claims from governments and international organizations (Form F). The Executive Secretary reported that the $2 million loan from the Kuwaiti Government has been received, and the Commission has received another $1 million as a result of the U.S. contribution to the United Nations for activities under Resolution 687. The financial impasse of the past several months, however, has cost valuable time in developing computer software and other key projects. Now that operating funds have been received, the Secretariat will press ahead and try to recover as much lost time as possible. On June 26, the United States filed its first set of 200 claims with the Commission; altogether 10 governments filed claims by the end of the week. Meanwhile, the Department of State distributed to potential U.S. claimants the form for claims of individuals over $100,000 (Form D) and continued to collect and review small claims.

In accordance with paragraph 20 of Resolution 687, the Sanctions Committee continues to receive notice of shipments of foodstuffs to Iraq. 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 civilian 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 all 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 resist full cooperation on these issues and to resist unqualified ICRC access to detention facilities in Iraq.

Mindful of the finding of the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 688 that Iraq's repression of its civilian population threatens international peace and security in the region, we will continue to monitor carefully the treatment of Iraq's citizens in concert with our Coalition partners, and together we remain prepared to take appropriate steps if the situation requires. To this end, we will continue to maintain an appropriate level of forces in the region for as long as required by the situation in Iraq.

I remain grateful for the support of the Congress for these efforts, and I 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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