This speech was a declaration of purpose, not a declaration of war. It put the United Nations in the spotlight and it challenged the international community to restore the Security Council’s relevance on this issue by confronting this threat to international peace and security, and 11 years of failure by Iraq to accept the demands made of it after its invasion and destruction of Kuwait.
The threat today is serious and unique and it arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions–its history of aggression and brutality, its defiance of the international commu- nity and its drive toward an arsenal of terror and destruction. This is a regime that has invaded two of its neighbors and tried to annihilate one of them; a regime that has used chemical weapons on its neighbors and its very own citizens; a regime that has lied about its development of weapons of mass destruction; a regime that signed the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and then proceeded to develop a major nuclear weapons program.
Eleven years ago, as one of the conditions for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Security Council required the Iraqi regime to destroy its weapons of mass destruction and cease all development of such weapons. As President Bush noted yesterday when signing the Congressional resolution on Iraq, at the time, Iraq was given 15 days to fully disclose its weapons of mass destruction, but the Baghdad regime has defied this obligation for 4199 days. The Security Council also demanded, eleven years ago, that Iraq return all pris- oners from Kuwait and other lands and renounce all involvement with terrorism. Iraq agreed to these demands (and more at the time) and these are commitments that Iraq must comply with. The Council has tried in every way to bring Iraq to peaceful fulfillment of the Gulf War ceasefire, yet the Iraqi regime has violated all of its obligations. As President Bush said earlier this month in Cincinnati, "the entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven year history of defiance, deception, and bad faith."
And the Security Council is not the only international body that is focused on the behav- ior of the Iraqi regime. Last year, a year when the United States was not a member, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution strongly condemning, and I quote, the "systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and inter- national humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive re- pression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror."
Today, exactly five weeks after the President spoke, we meet for the first time to pub- licly discuss the message the Security Council will send to Iraq and to its leader, Saddam Hussein. Our view of that message has been clear from September 12. There can be no more "business-as-usual" or toothless resolutions that Iraq will continue to ignore. Our intent is that the Council meet the challenge and stand firm, resolute, and united in adopting a resolution that holds Iraq to its commitments, that lays out clearly what Iraq must do to comply and states that there will be consequences if Iraq refuses to comply.
We expect the Council to act, and when the Council adopts a resolution that sends a clear and united message to Iraq that it must fulfill its obligations, Iraq will have a choice. It will have to decide whether to take this last chance to comply. We hope that it will choose to comply. If it does not, we will seek compliance and disarmament by other means.
This is not an easy issue for any of us on the Council. The world’s united response to Iraqi aggression in 1990 and 1991, expressed through a series of unique, groundbreaking Security Council resolutions, brought the world body closest to the visions of its found- ers. The Council’s requirements were far reaching, commensurate with both the threat and the Council’s determination that Iraq never again possess the means to threaten– even destroy–its neighbors. In the ensuing decade, however, Iraq’s failure to implement this body’s peace terms became for the United Nations a question of enormous signifi- cance. The challenge now is whether the United Nations can perform the function its founders envisaged? We very much hope the answer will be "yes".
The five weeks since the President came to the UN to discuss the threat posed by Iraq have passed quickly. We have seen signs of emerging Council unity during intensive discussions here and in capitals, involving the highest levels of our respective govern- ments. We have also seen clear signs that Iraq is reverting to form. We have seen Iraq invite inspectors to return "without conditions", and then immediately place conditions. We have seen requests for clarity from UNMOVIC and IAEA on practical arrangements met by Iraqi obfuscation and multiple answers, which in fact avoid answering at all.
Not surprisingly, in the first test of the socalled "new Iraqi cooperation," Iraq has shown that they hope to return to the word games, ephemeral commitments, and misdirection of the past, while continuing to develop the world’s deadliest weapons.
This is why a clear, firm message from this Council is so important. Miscalculation by Iraq will be dangerous. This body, and indeed the entire membership of the UN, do no favor to the people of Iraq, do no favor to those who seek a better future for Iraq, do no favor to the countries of the region, and do no favor to the credibility of the United Nations if they create the impression that an outcome in which Iraq retains its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs is an acceptable, or possible outcome.
Over the past five weeks, a consensus has been forming in the Security Council that the time for denial, deception, and delay has come to an end, and that Iraq must be verifiably disarmed. There is growing agreement that there must be immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted inspections of all Iraqi facilities that may have a role in the development of weapons of mass destruction.
The United States, together with the United Kingdom, has shared with the other members of the Council the elements of our vision of a resolution that will address Iraq’s material breach of its obligations under relevant Security Council Resolutions, specify the types of access and authorities that UNMOVIC and IAEA must have to be able to effectively verify Iraqi disarmament, make clear Iraq’s obligations and articulate to Iraq that there will be consequences to non-compliance.
The United States believes that the best way to ensure Iraqi compliance is through one resolution that is firm and unambiguous in its message.
We are considering the reactions we have received, and will be placing before the Council, in the near future, a resolution with clear and immediate requirements–re- quirements that Iraq would voluntarily meet if it chooses to cooperate.
We have also shared these elements with the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. While they can and should speak for themselves, both Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei have made it clear that they would welcome a new Security Council Resolution that strengthens their hands and allows for more effective inspections.
While all this diplomatic activity has been taking place, in the United States we have been having a great national debate. Last week, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a joint resolution that expressed support for the administration’s diplomatic efforts in the Security Council to ensure that "Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and non-compliance" and authorized the use of United States Armed Forces should diplomatic efforts fail. This resolution tells the world that the United States speaks with one determined voice. Yesterday, when President Bush signed this resolution, he said that he has not ordered the use of force. The United States hopes that the use of force will not become necessary. But the President also said that the choice for Iraq is straightforward: "either the Iraqi regime will give up its weapons of mass destruction, or, for the sake of peace, the United States will lead a global coalition to disarm that regime."
Now, the spotlight is back on the Security Council. We hope and expect that the Security Council will act and play its proper role as safeguard of our common security. If it fails to do so, then we and other states will be forced to act.
The USA/UK approach aims at clarity–clarity with respect to what Iraq must now do to fulfill its 1991 obligations to restore peace and security in the region; clarity with respect to what inspectors must be allowed to do; and clarity with respect to our seriousness. Without such clarity, there is too high a danger that Iraq will miscalculate. And miscal- culation by Iraq will lead to precisely the military action we all hope to avoid.
The Security Council faces a defining moment. The Security Council works best on Iraq when it works together. As we witnessed last spring with the successful passage of Security Council Resolution 1409 and the establishment of the Goods Review List, when the Security Council is resolute and united, its actions produce results. We must stand together and show Iraq that its failure to comply will no longer be tolerated.
The Problem of Rogue States:
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War & Peace in the Real World
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
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