Tags: U.S. | Bends | Iraq | U.N.

U.S. Bends on Iraq in U.N.

Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM

A resolution that was finally submitted for a Security Council vote late Thursday only warns of "serious consequences" if Iraq obstructs U.N. arms inspections.

"We do not have an automatic trigger to use force," admitted Ambassador John Negroponte. "What we have is a strong resolution to resume U.N. inspections."

On the use of force, Negroponte responded: "We are committed to returning to the council, if any violations occur."

The U.S. ambassador sidestepped the issue of whether Washington would need to seek additional formal approval before any attack on Baghdad.

However, several other Security Council ambassadors made it clear that "Washington does not have authorization to attack Iraq, and they know it." When asked if the U.S. agreed with their assessment, they responded, "Ambassador Negroponte agreed that the resolution before the council does not grant the use of military force and that authorization must be sought in a new resolution."

The ambassadors believe that Washington "will find some way to avoid another round of negotiations, but in the end if they do so, they will not have council approval."

One diplomat added: "Do they really care? They are the United States. They will do what they want."

The new resolution will soon be put to the test when the U.N. arms inspectors (UNMOVIC) and officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) leave for Baghdad late next week.

Their arrival in Iraq will end a hiatus of almost four years. It was in December 1998 that the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the IAEA pulled out of Iraq in advance of Operation Desert Fox.

While the inspectors will re-enter Iraq with a substantially strengthened mandate, there is little expectation that anything of major importance will be found, at least initially.

"They have had seven weeks" during U.N. negotiations. "Do you really think the Iraqis have stood still?" asked one U.N. official.

Iraqi diplomats refused direct comment on the Security Council resolution, but did hint they would cooperate.

Under the resolution's rules, Baghdad must officially state compliance within seven days.

The passage of the Iraq resolution comes almost 12 years after the U.N. Security Council authorized the U.S. and its coalition partners to begin Operation Desert Storm.

That was to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait, which it invaded and ultimately "annexed" in August 1990.

The Iraqis were ultimately pushed out by the U.S. and its coalition partners in February 1991. A cease-fire has been in effect since then.

A peace agreement between Baghdad and the coalition nations was never signed.

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A resolution that was finally submitted for a Security Council vote late Thursday only warns of serious consequences if Iraq obstructs U.N. arms inspections. We do not have an automatic trigger to use force, admitted Ambassador John Negroponte. What we have is a...
U.S.,Bends,Iraq,U.N.
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2002-00-07
Thursday, 07 November 2002 12:00 AM
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