Tags: Russia | Thwart | Efforts | End | Iraq | Inspections

Russia to Thwart Efforts to End Iraq Inspections

Friday, 22 June 2007 12:00 AM

"There will be no vote on the U.S.-U.K. draft next week. You can be sure of that."

So exclaimed Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, to NewsMax on Thursday night.

Churkin was referring to a draft resolution sponsored by the U.S. and U.K. that would have the Security Council "immediately terminate" the mandate of the U.N. Monitoring, Observation, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC).

UNMOVIC is the U.N. body enchartered with finding and destroying Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 U.S./U.K. invasion.

Since that time, UNMOVIC, forced to the sidelines by the Pentagon, has spent most of its time analyzing and cataloging millions of military documents seized from Saddam's regime.

Within the next week, NewsMax has learned that the U.N. body will be releasing a definitive comprendium of Saddam's secret weapons programs spanning more than 20 years. The report is reported to be in excess of "1,200 pages" say sources inside UNMOVIC.

Meanwhile, pressure to terminate UNMOVIC and dispose of its assets (about $65 million in cash from a U.N. levy on Iraqi oil sales) had been picking up steam, unitl now.

Earlier this month, Washington and London proposed a termination of the U.N. group for reasons not exactly clear.

Some within the Security Council suspect that political pressures from the White House and Downing Street had been "fueling" the drive to relegate UNMOVIC, and its remaining inspectors, to the history books.

Now the U.S.-led drive seems to have hit a road block, at least temporarily.

Diplomatic sources tell NewsMax that Washington wanted the termination approved by the Council while Belgium held the monthly presidency for June.

Next month, China which takes over the presidency, might prove "resistant" to the U.S. drvie, since it too has questioned the need to end the UNMOVIC charter at this time.

Both China and Russia, as permanent members, can veto any Council action.

There is a suspicion within the diplomatic corps that the continuing furor in the U.S. and U.K. about what was or was not known about Saddam's WMD (or lack of) has motivated the campaign to kill off the remnants of the U.N. arms inspectors.

Meanwhile, questions continue to grow about the activities of Iraq's U.N. mission in New York City.

Last November, the Iraqi government was able to "persuade" the Council to transfer more than $40 million of UNMOVIC cash to Baghdad, so renovations could be made to the Iraqi U.N. mission building and to "update" the ambassador's residence. In addition, the Iraqis wanted to use some of the money to buy a second office building on Manhattan's East Side, closer to U.N. headquarters.

The existing offices on the Upper West Side, are about a 20-minute drive to the U.N. campus.

"It was a bad move," explained a source familiar with the Iraqi move.

Some within the Council are now privately questioning how wise it was for Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, to request such funds for non-essential use, especially when food and medicines are in such short supply back at home.

Now, it seems, the Russians and Chinese are willing to stall the U.S.-U.K. drive until the motives behind the campaign are made clearer.

There was no comment from either the U.S. or the U.K. missions in New York.

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"There will be no vote on the U.S.-U.K. draft next week.You can be sure of that." So exclaimed Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, to NewsMax on Thursday night. Churkin was referring to a draft resolution sponsored by the U.S. and U.K. that would have the...
Russia,Thwart,Efforts,End,Iraq,Inspections
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2007-00-22
Friday, 22 June 2007 12:00 AM
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