Statement by H.E. Gints Jegermanis
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the United Nations
at the Security Council March 12, 2003
Latvia has aligned itself with the statement by the European Union; however, we still feel the need to underline our position on this critical issue. As a country acceding to the European Union we share the EU's common objective of full and effective disarmament of Iraq from weapons of mass destruction in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions, in particular resolution 1441.
Latvia would like to thank Dr. ElBaradei and Dr. Blix for their reports and for their work in monitoring Iraq's compliance with its disarmament obligations.
Latvia evaluates these reports keeping in mind that the UNSC and the international community have unanimously demanded immediate, full, active and unconditional cooperation on the part of Iraq.
Even taking into account such recent steps by Baghdad, as the destruction of proscribed Al Samoud 2 missiles, we have to conclude that Iraq has not taken strategic decision to disarm and to cooperate fully with the UN.
Four months ago the UNSC resolution 1441 offered Iraq the last chance to fulfill its previous commitments and to disarm. Unfortunately, Iraq continues its policy of deception - problems persist with interviewing weapons scientists and technicians, no substantive new information is provided on the stocks of VX gas and anthrax and we have just learned that Iraq has failed to declare a remotely piloted aircraft.
We agree with the conclusion of Dr.Blix that neither enhancement of inspections nor extension of inspections- time frame can substitute active cooperation by Iraq. The inspectors have earned our admiration for their courage. However, success of the UN is to be measured by the degree of Iraq-s cooperation and commitment to disarm. The limited progress achieved until now is a result of a strong diplomatic pressure backed by military force. It falls short of satisfying the demands of the international community.
The European Council Conclusions of 17 February state that "unity of the international community is vital in dealing with" disarmament of Iraq. Today it is more important than ever before. If we are to achieve a peaceful disarmament of Iraq we need to increase diplomatic pressure on Saddam Hussein.
Therefore Latvia supports the adoption by the UNSC the draft resolution cosponsored by the UK, US and Spain that would set a clear deadline for Iraq to comply with its obligations. A unanimous adoption of this draft would ensure the continued credibility of the UN and would send a clear and unequivocal message to Saddam Hussein that the time for taking the last opportunity is limited and in the case of Iraq-s failure the serious consequences will apply.
Thank you, Mr. President!