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

November 29, 1993

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.

Inspections and sanctions have significantly debilitated Iraq's ability to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in the near future. The U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have effectively put the Iraqi nuclear weapons program out of business in the near term. The United Nations has destroyed Iraqi missile launchers, support facilities, and a good deal of Iraq's indigenous capability to manufacture prohibited missiles. It has reduced Iraq's ability to produce chemical weapons; UNSCOM teams continue to inventory and destroy chemical munitions. The United Nations has inspected, and will monitor, several facilities identified by Iraq as capable of supporting a biological weapons program.

Continued vigilance is necessary, however, because we believe that Saddam Hussein is committed to rebuilding his WMD capability, especially nuclear weapons, and is most likely continuing to conceal weapons-related activities from the U.N. It is therefore extremely important that the international community maintain current sanctions and continue its efforts to establish the long-term monitoring regime required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 715. Although Iraq has said that it is ready to comply with that Resolution, it still must take significant steps, including the provision of new data about the suppliers of its WMD program. Rolf Ekeus, the Chairman of UNSCOM, has told Iraq that it must establish a clear track record of compliance before he can report favorably to the Security Council. We strongly endorse this approach.

The "no-fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq permit the monitoring of Iraq's compliance with Security Council Resolutions 687 and 688. Over the last two years, the northern nofly zone has deterred Iraq from a major military offensive in the region. Since the no-fly zone was established in southern Iraq, Iraq's use of aircraft against its population in the region has stopped.

The United States is working closely with the United Nations and other organizations to provide humanitarian relief to the people of northern Iraq, in the face of Iraqi Government efforts to disrupt this assistance. We have provided temporary generators and spare parts to preserve supplies of electricity in the region since the Iraqi Government cut off power on August 5, 1993. We continue to support U.N. efforts to mount a relief program for persons in Baghdad and the South and to ensure that supplies are not diverted by the Iraqi Government. We are continuing to work toward the placement of human rights monitors for Iraq as proposed by Max van der Stoel, Special Rapporteur of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and to work for the establishment of a U.N. Commission to investigate and publicize Iraqi war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.

On September 20, after a review of Iraqi compliance with Security Council resolutions, the President of the Security Council issued a statement noting that there was no consensus to modify the existing sanctions regime. That regime exempts medicine and, in the case of foodstuffs, requires only that the U.N. Sanctions Committee be notified of food shipments. The Sanctions Committee also continues to consider and, when appropriate, approve requests to send to Iraq materials and supplies for essential civilian needs. The Iraqi Government, in contrast, has maintained a full embargo against its northern provinces and has acted to distribute humanitarian supplies only to its supporters and to the military.

The Iraqi Government has so far refused to sell $1.6 billion in oil as previously authorized by the Security Council in Resolutions 706 and 712. Talks between Iraq and the United Nations on implementing these resolutions have ended unsuccessfully. Iraq could use proceeds from such sales to purchase foodstuffs, medicines, materials, and supplies for essential civilian needs of its population, subject to U.N. monitoring of sales and the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies (including to its northern provinces). Iraqi authorities bear full responsibility for any suffering in Iraq that results from their refusal to implement Resolutions 706 and 712.

Proceeds from oil sales also would be used to compensate persons injured by Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The U.N. Compensation Commission has received about two million claims so far, with another 500,000 expected. The U.S. Government is preparing to file a sixth set of individual claims with the Commission, bringing U.S. claims filed to roughly 3,000. At its most recent session September 27-29, the Commission's Governing Council discussed how to allocate funds among different claimants but did not make decisions.

Security Council Resolution 778 permits use of a portion of frozen Iraqi oil assets to fund crucial U.N. activities concerning Iraq, including humanitarian relief, UNSCOM, and the Compensation Commission. (The funds will be repaid, with interest, from Iraqi oil revenues as soon as Iraqi oil exports resume.) The United States is prepared to transfer up to $200 million in frozen Iraqi oil assets held in U.S. financial institutions, provided that U.S. contributions do not exceed 50 percent of the total amount contributed. We have arranged a total of over $100 million in such matching contributions thus far.

Iraq still has not met its obligations concerning Kuwaitis and third-country nationals it detained during the war. Iraq has taken no substantive steps to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as required by Security Council Resolution 687, although it has received over 600 files on missing individuals. We continue to work for Iraqi compliance.

Although the Iraq-Kuwait border has been demarcated, incidents continue. On November 15, Iraq released Mr. Kenneth Beaty, a U.S. citizen, who had been detained by Iraq since he crossed the border accidentally in April 1993. Also on November 2, a small group of Iraqi police in uniform entered Kuwaiti territory and, with their guns drawn, stopped Kuwaiti citizens in two vehicles. Three Iraqis were wounded in an ensuing fight. Iraq admitted that its police had crossed into Kuwait. The U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) continues to monitor the border.

Iraq can rejoin the community of civilized nations only through democratic processes, respect for human rights, equal treatment of its people, and adherence to basic norms of international behavior. Iraq's government should represent all Iraq's people and be committed to the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq. The Iraqi National Congress (INC) espouses these goals, the fulfillment of which would make Iraq a stabilizing force in the Gulf region.

I am grateful for the support by the Congress of our efforts.



NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Robert C. Byrd, 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

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