Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions
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 effort to keep the Congress fully informed, I am reporting on the status of efforts to obtain Iraq's compliance with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council.
On December 17, 1995, the Executive Chairman of the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), responsible for dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, released his latest report to the Security Council. The report makes clear that Iraq remains far from compliance with its WMD obligations. The regime's promises of new openness and honesty in its relationship with UNSCOM have proven worthless. Not only is Iraq continuing to hide information on its past weapons programs, UNSCOM has discovered that it has continued work on prohibited missile programs up to the present day. This was evidenced by the recent interception by the Jordanian government of a shipment of missile components destined for Iraq. In addition, the Iraqi government only recently turned over other prohibited missile parts.
Further, Iraq continues to drag its feet on its obligations to account for hundreds of Kuwaitis and third country nationals missing since the invasion. Iraq has not returned the millions of dollars worth of Kuwaiti property looted during the occupation. The Iraqi Republican Guards still use a large quantity of stolen Kuwaiti military equipment. Iraq continues to provide safe haven for terrorist groups. Given this Iraqi track record of disrespect for its international obligations, the Security Council maintained the sanctions regime without change at the November 8, 1995, review. The U.N. Security Council has authorized Iraq, pursuant to Resolution 986, to export a limited quantity of oil in order to purchase humanitarian goods. However, the Government of Iraq continues to reject this Resolution.
Saddam Hussein's unwillingness to comply with the norms of international behavior extends to his regime's continuing threat to Iraqi citizens throughout the country. We and our allies continue to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq as part of our efforts to deter Iraq's use of aircraft against its population. Iraq's repression of its southern Shi'a population continues, with policies aimed at destroying the Marsh Arabs' way of life and important environmental resources. Along with international and local relief organizations, we continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of northern Iraq. We have facilitated talks between the two major Kurdish groups in an effort to help them resolve their differences and increase stability in northern Iraq.
The human rights situation throughout Iraq remains unchanged. Saddam Hussein shows no signs of complying with U.N. Security Council Resolution 688, which demands that Iraq cease the repression of its own people. The international community and human rights observers joined us in dismissing Saddam's October 15, 1995, referendum to extend his rule as a farce.
In October 1994 the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 949, which demanded that Iraq not utilize its forces to threaten its neighbors or U.N. operations and that it not redeploy or enhance its military capacity in southern Iraq. The defections last August of Saddam Hussein's family members increased the uncertainty of the Iraqi situation. In view of Saddam Hussein's proven record of unreliability, we felt it prudent to improve the deterrence and warfighting capability of U.S. forces within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Among the steps taken to accomplish this end were the movement of prepositioning ships into the Gulf and the deployment of an air expeditionary force to Bahrain.
The Multinational Interception Force (MIF) conducting the maritime enforcement of sanctions against Iraq continues to serve magnificently. Since my last report, the MIF has encountered the busiest sanctions enforcement period since 1991, diverting 20 dhow vessels carrying Iraqi dates worth an estimated $3.45 million. The expeditious acceptance of these vessels by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait has greatly contributed to the deterrent effect of MIF sanctions enforcement operations and has also freed enforcement vessels escorting the diverted vessels to return to patrol operations.
We continue to achieve a significant foreign policy objective in ensuring multinational participation in the MIF. Ships from Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Canada, and the United Kingdom have served with the MIF since September, effectively refuting Iraqi assertions that the MIF is a "U.S.-only operation."
Other countries have made different but important contributions toward enforcing the U.N. sanctions against Iraq. Since MIF operations began, Panama and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have deflagged four vessels, and Honduras has enacted stricter sanctions enforcement measures and has continued to pursue deflagging proceedings against several vessels involved in sanctions violations.
The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have assumed responsibility for disposition of the approximately 30,000 metric tons of Iraqi gas and oil cargo seized by the MIF and valued at about $6 million. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have sold a portion of this cargo and are expected to turn over the proceeds to the United Nations. Saudi Arabia is preparing to sell a portion of the seized oil as well. The Iraqi dates seized by the MIF are subject to disposal in order to deny any benefit to Iraq.
Security Council Resolution 687 affirmed that Iraq is liable under international law for compensating the victims of its unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Although the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC) has approved some 790,000 individual awards against Iraq, worth about $3.0 billion, it has been able to authorize the payment of only the fixed awards for serious personal injury or death (aggregating approximately $13.5 million). The remainder of the awards cannot be paid because the U.N. Compensation Fund lacks sufficient funding. The awards are supposed to be financed by a deduction from the proceeds of future Iraqi oil sales, once such sales are permitted to resume. However, Iraq's refusal to meet the Security Council's terms for a resumption of oil sales has left the UNCC without adequate financial resources to pay the awards. Iraq's intransigence means that the victims of its aggression remain uncompensated for their losses over 4 years after the end of the Gulf War.
To conclude, Iraq remains a serious threat to regional peace and stability. I remain determined that Iraq comply fully with all its obligations under the U.N. Security Council Resolutions. My Administration will continue to oppose any relaxation of sanctions until Iraq demonstrates peaceful intentions through its overall compliance with the relevant resolutions.
I appreciate the support of the Congress for our efforts and shall continue to keep the Congress informed about this important issue.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Strom Thurmond, President pro tempore of the Senate.
William J. Clinton, 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 https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/222802