Inspectors Set to Return to Iraq Under New Security Council Resolution
IAEA and UN weapons inspectors are set to return to Iraq for on-site inspections under terms of a new resolution adopted Friday, 8 November, by the UN Security Council.
IAEA and UN weapons inspectors are set to return to Iraq for on-site inspections under terms of a new resolution adopted Friday, 8 November, by the UN Security Council. The resolution demands that Iraq "cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively" with the IAEA, which is responsible for the nuclear file, and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), responsible for the chemical, biological, and missile files.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, who in recent weeks has underscored the key role of inspections, welcomed the Security Council action. "The Security Council action gives us a clear mandate in Iraq, with full and explicit authority for unrestricted inspections, and we stand ready to carry out our mission." he said. "As I have emphasized, such inspections will be the key, over the long haul, to ensuring that clandestine efforts to develop nuclear weapons in Iraq are detected and thwarted."
The Security Council demanded that Iraq confirm its intention within seven days to comply fully with the resolution. Shortly thereafter, an advance team of IAEA and UNMOVIC inspectors would go to Iraq.
Highlights of the Security Council resolution
- IAEA and UNMOVIC inspections are to resume no later than 45 days following adoption of the resolution, with updates to the Council 60 days thereafter.
- Iraq is to provide IAEA and UNMOVIC "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all" sites and facilities they wish to inspect; as well as "immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access" to all officials and other persons they wish to interview. The Council endorsed the letter of 8 October 2002 to Iraq from the IAEA and UNMOVIC, and decided that the letter's contents "shall be binding on Iraq."
- Within 30 days, Iraq is to provide to the IAEA, UNMOVIC and Security Council a "currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems".
- The IAEA and UNMOVIC are to report immediately to the Council "any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations". In that event, the Council would "convene immediately...to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security".