The report made to the U.N. Security Council on Iraqi arms inpsections

02.12.2014. 19:09

, 12:17 PM

HANS BLIX: Mr. President, since I reported to the Security Council on 27th of January, UNMOVIC has had two further weeks of operational and analytical work in New York and active inspections in Iraq. This brings the total period of inspections so far to 11 weeks.

Since then, we have also listened on the 5th of February to the presentation to the Council by the U.S. secretary of state and the discussion that followed.

Lastly, Dr. ElBaradei and I have held another round of talks in Baghdad with our counterparts and with Vice President Ramadan on the 8th and 9th of February.

Let me begin today's briefing with a short account of the work being performed by UNMOVIC in Iraq.

We have continued to build up our capabilities. The regional office in Mosul is now fully operational at its temporary headquarters. Plans for a regional office at Basra are being developed. Our Hercules L-100 aircraft continues to operate routine flights between Baghdad and Larnaca. The eight helicopters are fully operational.

With the resolution of the problems raised by Iraq for the transportation of minders into the no-fly zones, our mobility in these zones has improved. We expect to increase utilization of the helicopters.

The number of Iraqi minders during inspections has often reached a ratio--had often reached a ratio as high as five per inspector. During the talks in January in Baghdad, the Iraqi side agreed to keep the ratio to about 1:1. The situation has improved.

Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.

The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq, at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centers, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile-production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites.

At all sites which had been inspected before 1998, rebase lining activities were performed. This included the identification of the function and contents of each building, new or old, at a site. It also included verification of previously tagged equipment, application of seals and tags, taking samples, and discussions with the site's personnel regarding past and present activities. At certain sites, ground-penetrating radar was used to look for underground structures or buried equipment.

Through the inspections conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq, as well as of its missile capability. But as before, we do not know every cave and corner. Inspections are effectively helping to bridge the gap in knowledge that arose due to the absence of inspections between December 1998 and November 2002.

More than 200 chemical and more than 100 biological samples have been collected at different sites. Three-quarters of these have been screened, using our own analytical laboratory capabilities at the Baghdad center. The results to date have been consistent with Iraqi declarations.

In the current situation, one would expect Iraq to be eager to comply.

While we were in Baghdad, we met a delegation from the government of South Africa. It was there to explain how South Africa gained the confidence of the world in its dismantling of the nuclear weapons program by a wholehearted cooperation over two years with IAEA inspectors. I have just learned that Iraq has accepted an offer by South Africa to send a group of experts for further talks.

How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programs? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions which should have been declared and destroyed.

Another matter, and one of great significance, is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for.

To take an example, a document which Iraq provided suggested to us that some 1,000 tons of chemical agent were unaccounted for. I must not jump to the conclusion that they exist; however, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.

We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programs continue to exist. The U.S. secretary of state presented material in support of this conclusion.

Governments have many sources of information that are not available to inspectors. The inspectors, for their part, must base their reports only on the evidence which they can themselves examine and present publicly. Without evidence, confidence cannot arise.

Mr. President, in my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 and should be well known to Iraq.

I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX, and long-range missiles, and said that such issues--and I quote myself--"deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside," unquote.

The declaration submitted by Iraq on the 7th of December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions.

This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions.

In my January update to the Council I referred to the Al-Samud II and the Al-Fatah missiles, reconstituted casting chambers, construction of a missile engine test stand and the import of rocket engines, which were all declared to UNMOVIC by Iraq.

I noted that the Al-Samud II and the Al-Fatah could very well represent prima facie cases of proscribed missile systems, as they had been tested to ranges exceeding the 150-kilometers limit set by the Security Council.

I also noted that Iraq had been requested to cease flight test of these missiles until UNMOVIC completed a technical review.

Earlier this week, UNMOVIC missile experts met for two days with experts from a number of member states to discuss these items. The experts concluded unanimously that, based on the data provided by Iraq, the two declared variants of the Al-Samud II missile were capable of exceeding 150 kilometers in range. This missile system is therefore proscribed for Iraq pursuant to Resolution 687 and the monitoring plan adopted by Resolution 715.

As for the Al-Fatah, the experts found that clarification of the missile data supplied by Iraq was required before the capability of the missile system could be fully assessed.

With respect to the casting chambers, I note the following. UNSCOM ordered and supervised the destruction of the casting chambers, which had been intended for use in the production of the proscribed Bader (ph) 2000 missile system. Iraq has declared that it has reconstituted these chambers. The experts have confirmed that the reconstituted casting chambers could still be used to produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 kilometers. Accordingly, these chambers remain proscribed.

The expert also studied the data on the missile engine test stand that is nearing completion and have assessed it to be capable of testing missile engines with thrusts greater than that of the SA-2 engine. So far the test stand has not been associated with the proscribed activity.

On the matter of the 380 SA-2 missile engines imported outside of the export-import mechanism and in contravention of paragraph 24 of Resolution 687, UNMOVIC inspectors were informed by Iraq during an official briefing that these engines were intended for use in the Al-Samud II missile system, which has now been assessed to be proscribed. Any such engines configured for use in this missile system would also be proscribed. I intend to communicate these findings to the government of Iraq.

At the meeting in Baghdad on the 8th and the 9th, February, the Iraqi side addressed some of the important outstanding disarmament issues and gave us a number of papers--for instance, regarding anthrax and growth material, the nerve agent VX and missile production.

Experts who were present from our side studied the papers during the evening of 8th of February and met with Iraqi experts in the morning of 9 February for further clarifications.

Although no new evidence was provided in the papers and no open issues were closed through them or the expert discussions, the presentation of the papers could be indicative of a more active attitude focusing on the important open issues.

The Iraqi side suggested that the problem of verifying the quantities of anthrax and two VX precursors, which had been declared unilaterally destroyed, might be tackled through certain technical and analytical methods. Although our experts are still assessing the suggestions, they are not very hopeful that it could prove possible to assess the quantities of material poured into the grounds years ago. Documentary evidence and testimony by staff that dealt with the items still appears to be needed.

Not least against this background, a letter of the 12th of February from Iraq's National and Monitoring Directorate may be irrelevant. It presents a list of 83 names of participants, I quote, "in the unilateral destruction in the chemical field which took place in the summer of 1991," unquote.

As the absence of adequate evidence of that destruction has been and remains an important reason why quantities of chemicals had been deemed unaccounted for, the presentation of a list of persons who can be interviewed about the actions appears useful and pertains to cooperation on substance.

I trust that the Iraqi side will put together a similar list of names of persons who participated in the unilateral destruction of other proscribed items, notably in the biological field.

The Iraqi side also informed us that the commission, which had been appointed in the wake of our finding 12 empty chemical weapons warheads, had its mandate expanded to look for any still existing proscribed items. This was welcomed.

A second commission, we learned, has now been appointed with the task of searching all over Iraq for more documents relevant to the elimination of proscribed items and programs. It is headed by the former minister of oil, General Amir Rasheed, and is to have very extensive powers of search in industry, administration and even private houses.

The two commissions could be useful tools to come up with proscribed items to be destroyed and with new documentary evidence. They evidently need to work fast and effectively to convince us and the world that it is a serious effort.

The matter of private interviews was discussed at length during our meeting in Baghdad. The Iraqi side confirmed the commitment which they had made to us on the 20th of January to encourage persons asked to accept such interviews whether in or out of Iraq. So far, we have only had interviews in Baghdad.

A number of persons have declined to be interviewed unless they were allowed to have an official present or were allowed to tape the interview. Three persons that had previously refused interviews on UNMOVIC terms subsequently accepted such interviews just prior to our talks in Baghdad on the 8th and 9th of February. These interviewed proved informative.

No further interviews have since been accepted on our terms. I hope this will change. We feel that interviews conducted with any third party present and without tape recording would provide the greatest credibility.

At the recent meeting in Baghdad, as on several earlier occasions, my colleague, Dr. ElBaradei, and I had urged the Iraqi side to enact legislation implementing the U.N. prohibitions regarding weapons of mass destruction. This morning we had a message that a presidential decree has now been issued, containing prohibitions with regard to importation and production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We have not yet had time to study the details of the text of the decree.

Mr. President, I should like to make some comments on the role of intelligence in connection with inspections in Iraq.

A credible inspection regime requires that Iraq provide full cooperation on process, (inaudible) granting immediate access everywhere to inspectors, and on substance, providing full declarations supported by relevant information and material and evidence.

However, with the closed society in Iraq of today and the history of inspections there, other sources of information, such as defectors and government intelligence agencies, are required to aid the inspection process.

I remember myself how in 1991, several inspections in Iraq, which were based on information received from a government, helped to disclose important parts of the nuclear weapon program. It was realized that an international organization authorized to perform inspections anywhere on the ground could make good use of the information obtained from governments with eyes in the sky, ears in the ether, access to defectors, and both eyes and ears on the market for weapons-related material.

It was understood that the information residing in the intelligence services government could come to very active use in the international effort to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This remains true, and we have by now a good deal of experi

ence in the matter. International organizations need to analyze such information critically and especially benefit when it comes from more than one source. The intelligence agencies, for their part, must protect their sources and methods. Those who provide such information must know that it will be kept in strict confidence and be known to very few people.

UNMOVIC has achieved good working relations with intelligence agencies, and the amount of information provided has been gradually increasing. However, we must recognize that there are limitations and that misinterpretations can occur.

Intelligence information has been useful for UNMOVIC. In one case, it led us to a private home where documents mainly relating to laser enrichment of uranium were found. In other cases, intelligence has led to sites where no proscribed items were found. Even in such cases, however, inspection of these sites were useful in proving the absence of such items and, in some cases, the presence of other items, conventional munitions. It showed that conventional arms are being moved around the country and that movements are not necessarily related to weapons of mass destruction.

The presentation of intelligence information by the U.S. secretary of state suggested that Iraq had prepared for inspections by cleaning up sites and removing evidence of proscribed weapons programs.

I would like to comment only on one case which we are familiar with, namely the trucks identified by analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect.

We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart. The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection.

Our reservation on this point does not detract from the appreciation of the briefing.

Yesterday, UNMOVIC informed the Iraqi authorities of its intention to start the U-2 surveillance aircraft early next week under arrangements similar to those UNSCOM had followed.

We are also in the process of working out modalities for the use of the French Mirage aircraft starting late next week and for the drones supplied by the German government. The offer from Russia of an Antonov aircraft with night-vision abilities is a welcome one and is next on our agenda for further improving UNMOVIC's and IAEA's technical capabilities.

These developments are in line with suggestions made in a non-paper recently circulated by France suggesting a further strengthening of the inspection capabilities.

It is our intention to examine the possibilities for surveying ground movements, notably trucks, in the face of persistent intelligence reports, for instance about mobile biological weapons productions units. Such measures could well increase the effectiveness of inspections.

UNMOVIC is still expanding its capabilities, both in terms of numbers of staff and technical resources. On my way to the recent Baghdad meeting, I stopped in Vienna to meet 60 experts who had just completed our general training course for inspectors. They came from 22 countries, including Arab countries.

Mr. President, UNMOVIC is not infrequently asked how much more time it needs to complete its task in Iraq. The answer depends upon which task one has in mind: the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and related items and programs, which were prohibited in 1991, the disarmament task; or the monitoring that no new proscribed activities occur.

The latter task, though not often focused upon, is highly significant and not controversial. It will require monitoring which is ongoing, that is open-ended, until the Council decides otherwise.

By contrast, the task of disarmament foreseen in Resolution 687 and the progress on key remaining disarmament tasks foreseen in Resolution 1284, as well as the disarmament obligations which Iraq was given a final opportunity to comply with under Resolution 1441, were always required to be fulfilled in a shorter timespan.

Regrettably, the high degree of cooperation required of Iraq for disarmament through inspection was not forthcoming in 1991. Despite the elimination under UNSCOM and the IAEA supervision of large amounts of weapons, weapons-related items and installations over the years, the task remained incomplete when inspectors were withdrawn almost eight years later, at the end of 1998.

If Iraq has provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament under Resolution 687 could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided. Today, three months after the adoption of Resolution 1441, the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short if, I quote, "immediate, active and unconditional cooperation," unquote, with UNMOVIC and the IAEA were to be forthcoming.

Thank you, Mr. President.

PETER VAN WALSUM, PRESIDENT, U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL: I thank Dr. Blix for his briefing.

I now give the floor to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The floor is yours.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI: Mr. President, my report to the Council today is an update on the status of IAEA's nuclear verification activities is Iraq pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1441 and other relevant resolutions.

Less than three weeks have passed since my last update to the Council on 27 January, a relatively short period in the overall inspection process. However, I believe it is important for the Council to remain actively engaged and fully informed at this critical time.

The focus of the IAEA inspection has now moved from the reconnaissance phase into the investigative phase.

The reconnaissance phase was aimed at reestablishing rapidly our knowledge base of Iraq's nuclear capabilities, ensuring that nuclear activities at known key facilities had not been resumed, verifying the location of nuclear material and relevant non-nuclear material and equipment, and identifying the current workplace of former key Iraqi personnel.

The focus of the investigative phase is achieving and understanding of Iraq's activities over the last four years, in particular in areas identified by states as being of concern and those identified by the IAEA on the basis of its own analysis.

Since our 27 January report, the IAEA has conducted an additional 38 inspections at 19 locations, for a total of 177 inspections at 125 locations. Iraq has continued to provide immediate access to all locations.

In the course of the inspections, we have identified certain facilities at which we will be establishing containment and surveillance systems in order to monitor on a continuous basis activities associated with critical dual-use equipment.

At this time, we are using recurrent inspections to ensure that this equipment is not being used for prohibitive purposes.

As I mentioned in my last report to the Council, we have a number of wide areas and location-specific measures for detecting indications of undeclared past or ongoing nuclear activities in Iraq, including environmental sampling and radiation detection surveys. In this regard, we have been collecting a broad variety of samples, including water, sediment and vegetation, at inspected facilities and at other locations across Iraq and analyzing them for signature of nuclear activities.

We have also resumed air sampling at key locations in Iraq. Three of the four air samplers that were removed in December 2002 for refurbishing have been returned to Iraq. One of these has been installed at a fixed location and the other two are being operated from mobile platforms. We are intending to increase their number to make optimum use of this technique.

We are also continuing to expand the use of hand-held and car-borne gamma surveys in Iraq. The gamma survey vehicle has been used en route to inspection sites and within sites, as well as in urban and industrial areas. We will start helicopter-borne gamma surveys as soon as relevant equipment receives its final certification for use on the helicopter model provided to us for use in Iraq.

The IAEA has continued to interview key Iraqi personnel. We have recently been able to conduct four interviews in private; that is, without the presence of an Iraqi observer. The interviewees, however, have tape recorded their interviews.

In addition, discussions have continued to be conducted with Iraqi technicians and officials as part of inspection activities and technical meetings.

I should note that during our recent meeting in Baghdad, Iraq reconfirmed its commitment to encourage its citizens to accept interviews in private, both inside and outside of Iraq.

In response to a request by the IAEA, Iraq has expanded the list of relevant Iraqi personnel to over 300, along with their current work locations. The list includes the higher-level scientists known to the IAEA in the nuclear and nuclear-related areas. We will continue, however, to ask for information about Iraqi personnel of lesser rank whose work may be of significance to our mandate.

I would like now to provide an update on a number of specific issues that we are currently pursuing. I should mention that shortly before our recent meeting in Baghdad, and based on our discussion with Iraqi counterpart, Iraq provided documentations related to these issues: the reported attempt to import uranium, the attempted procurement of aluminum tubes, the procurement of magnets and magnet-production capabilities, the use of HMX, and those questions and concerns that were outstanding in 1998.

I will touch briefly on each of these issues.

Iraq continues to state that it has made no attempt to import uranium since the 1980s. The IAEA recently received some additional information relevant to this issue, which will be further pursued, hopefully with the assistance of the African country reported to have been involved.

The IAEA is also continuing to follow up on acknowledged effort by Iraq to important high-strength aluminum tubes. As you all (ph) know, Iraq has declared these efforts to have been in connection with a program to reverse engineer conventional rockets. The IAEA has verified that Iraq had indeed been manufacturing such rockets. However, we are still exploring whether the tubes were intended rather for the manufacture of centrifuges for uranium enrichment.

In connection with this investigation, Iraq has been asked to explain the reasons for the tight (ph) tolerance specifications that it had requested from various suppliers. Iraq has provided documentations related to the project of reverse engineering and has committed itself to providing samples of tubes received from prospective suppliers. We will continue to investigate the matter further.

In response to the IAEA inquiries about Iraq's attempt to procure a facility for the manufacture of magnets and the possible link with the resumption of a nuclear program, Iraq recently provided additional documentations, which we are presently examining.

In the course of an inspection conducted in connection with aluminum tube investigation, the IAEA inspectors found a number of documents relevant to transactions aimed at the procurement of carbon fiber, a dual-use material used by Iraq in the past clandestine uranium enrichment program for the manufacture of gas centrifuge rotors.

Our review of these documents suggests that the carbon fibers sought by Iraq was not intended for enrichment purpose, as the specification of the material appear not to be consistent with those needed for manufacturing rotor tubes.

In addition, we have carried out follow-up inspection, during which we have been able to observe the use of such carbon fibers in non-nuclear-related applications and to take samples. The IAEA will nevertheless continue to pursue this matter.

We have also continued to investigate the relocation and consumption of the high explosive HMX. As I reported earlier, Iraq has declared that 32 tons of the HMX previously under IAEA seals had been transferred for use in the production of industrial explosives, primarily to cement plants as a booster for explosives used in quarrying.

Iraq has provided us with additional information, including documentation on the movement and use of this material, and inspections have been conducted at locations where the material is said to have been used. However, given the nature of the use of high explosives, it may well be that the IAEA will be unable to reach a final conclusion on the end use of this material.

While we have no indication that this material was used for any application other than that declared by Iraq, we have no technical method of verifying quantitatively the declared use of the material in explosions.

We will continue to follow this issue through a review of civilian mining practices in Iraq and through interviews of key Iraqi personnel involved in former relevent research and development activities.

We have completed a more detailed review of the 2,000 pages of documents found on 16 January at the private residence of an Iraqi scientist. The documents relate predominately to lasers, including the use of laser technology to enrich uranium. They consist of technical reports, minutes of meetings, including those of the Standard Committee for Laser Application, personal notes, copies of publications and student research projects, thesis (ph), and a number of administered documents, some of which were marked as classified.

While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found.

Nothing contained in the document alters the conclusion previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program. We nevertheless continue to emphasize to Iraq that it should search for and provide all documents, personal or otherwise, that might be relevant to our mandate.

Last week, Iraq has also provided the IAEA with documentation related to questions and concerns that since 1990 have been a need for further gratification, particularly as regards weapons and centrifuge designs. However, no new information was contained in this documentation.

It is to be hoped that the new Iraqi commissions established by Iraq to look for any additional documents on hardware relevant to its programs for weapons of mass destruction will be able to uncover documents and other evidence that could assist in clarifying these remaining questions and concerns, as well as other areas of current concern.

Finally, as Dr. Blix just mentioned, I was informed this morning by the director general of Iraq's national monitoring directorate that national legislation prohibiting proscribed activities was adopted today. The resolution of this longstanding legal matter was, in my view, a step in the right direction for Iraq to demonstrate its commitment to fulfilling its obligations under Security Council resolutions.

In the coming weeks, the IAEA will continue to expand its inspection capabilities in a number of ways, including its already extensive use of unannounced inspections at all relevant sites in Iraq to strengthen and accelerate our ability to investigate matters of concern and to reinstate and reinforce our ongoing monitoring and verification system that came to a halt in 1998.

We intend to increase the number of inspectors and support staff. We will also be adding more analysts and translators to support analysis of documents and other inspection findings. We intend to augment the number of customs and procurement experts for the monitoring of imports by Iraq. We will also intensify and expand the range of technical meetings and private interviews with Iraqi personnel in accordance with our preferred modalities and locations, both inside and outside Iraq.

In addition, we intend to expand our capabilities for near, real-time monitoring of dual-use equipment and related activities and implement several additional components of wide-area environmental monitoring aimed at identifying fingerprints left by nuclear material and nuclear-related activities. We hope to continue to receive from states actionable information relevant to our mandate.

Now that Iraq has accepted the use of all of the platform for aerial surveillance proposed by supporting states to UNMOVIC and the IAEA, including the U-2s, Mirage IV, Antonov and drones, we plan to make use of them to support our inspection activities. In particular, was a view (ph) to monitoring movements in and around sites to be inspected.

The government of Iraq reiterated last week its commitment to comply with its Security Council obligations and to provide full and active cooperation with the inspecting organizations. Subject to Iraq making good on this commitment, the above measures will contribute to the effectiveness of the inspection process.

Mr. President, as I have reported on numerous occasions, the IAEA concluded by December 1998 that it had neutralized Iraq's past nuclear program and that, therefore, there was no unresolved disarmament issues left at that time.

Hence, our focus since the resumption of our inspection in Iraq two and a half months ago has been verifying whether Iraq revived its nuclear program in the intervening years.

We have, to date, found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq.

However, as I have just indicated, a number of issues are still under investigation, and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion about them, although we are moving forward with regard to some of them.

To that end, we intend to make full use of the authority granted to us under all relevant Security Council resolutions to build as much capacity into the inspection process as necessary. In that context, I would underline the importance of information that State (ph) may be able to provide to help us in assessing the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by Iraq.

The IAEA experience in the nuclear verification shows that it is possible, particularly with an intrusive verification system, to assess the presence or absence of a nuclear weapon program in a state, even without the full cooperation of the inspected states.

However, prompt, full and active cooperation by Iraq, as required under Resolution 1441, will speed up the process, and more importantly, it will enable us to reach the high degree of assurance required by the Security Council in the case of Iraq in view of its past clandestine WMD programs and past pattern of cooperation.

It is my hope that the commitment made recently in Baghdad will continue to translate into concrete and sustained actions.

Thank you, Mr. President.