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

January 31, 1994

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.

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.

Iraq's formal acceptance of UNSCR 715 (long-term monitoring) in November was an important step, although long overdue. It is necessary to ensure that Iraq does not break its promise on long-term monitoring as it has many times in the past on other commitments. Continued vigilance is necessary because we believe that Saddam Hussein is committed to rebuilding his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability, especially nuclear weapons. We also remain seriously concerned about the many contradictions and unanswered questions remaining in regard to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability. It is therefore extremely important that the international community 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 and acceptance on the ground of a functioning monitoring program for a sustained period. Iraq has provided some further data on suppliers which is still being evaluated by UNSCOM.

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 and reject any establishment of a timetable for determining whether Iraq has complied with Resolution 715. There must be a sustained period of unquestionable, complete compliance with the monitoring plans.

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 2 years, the northern no-fly 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. However, Iraqi forces have responded to the no-fly zone by stepping up their use of land-based artillery to shell marsh villages.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Iraq, Max van der Stoel, published a report in November describing the Iraqi military's ongoing repression against civilian populations in the marshes. The Rapporteur has judged that Iraq is in violation of UNSCR 688, which demands that Iraq cease repression of its civilian population and allow immediate access by international humanitarian organizations to all those in need of assistance in all parts of Iraq. On January 4, the United States—along with the Governments of France, Russia, and the United Kingdom—presented a demarche to the Iraqi government strongly condemning its repression of the Iraqi people.

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, provided 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 the U.N. Special Rapporteur, and to support the establishment of a U.N. commission to investigate and publicize iraqi war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.

On January 18, 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 has now filed a total of eight sets of individual claims with the Commission, bringing U.S. claims filed to roughly 3,000 with a total asserted value of over $205 million. At a meeting on January 13, the Commission's Government Council continued discussions on how to allocate future funds among different claimants but did not make any decisions. Meanwhile, a panel of commissioners began to work on the first set of individual claims for serious personal injury or death. The panel is expected to report its findings to the Governing Council in the spring.

Security Council Resolution 778 permits the use of a portion of frozen Iraqi oil assets to fund critical 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 about $107 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 more than 600 files on missing individuals. We continue to work for Iraqi compliance.

The Iraq-Kuwait border has been demarcated, and the U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) continues its monitoring mission. However, the Iraqi government continues to refer publicly to Kuwait as a "province" and "governorate" of Iraq.

Examples of Iraqi noncooperation and noncompliance continue in other areas. For instance, on December 22, Iraqi military forces attacked a four-vehicle coalition military convoy near the Faydah checkpoint. This was the first time Iraqi forces have fired directly on coalition forces since the Gulf War. We, along with the British and the French, issued a demarche to the Iraqi government, warning Baghdad that a repetition of the incident would have consequences.

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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