Doubts surround Iraqi 'acceptance'greenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 10:24 GMT
The letter to Annan ran to nine pages
The United States has not welcomed Iraq's decision to allow UN weapons inspectors to return to Baghdad, saying President Saddam Hussein had no choice but to comply.
18 Nov: Inspectors to arrive in Iraq
8 Dec: Iraq must reveal all programmes, plants and materials which could be used for weapons production
23 Dec: Inspections must resume
21 Feb: Inspectors to report to UN Security Council
In an interview with the BBC, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Iraqi leader had simply done what he was required to do under the terms of the resolution, unanimously passed last week by the UN Security Council.
Baghdad grudgingly agreed to the return of the inspectors in a letter delivered to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in which it spoke of "dealing" with the resolution despite "its bad contents".
But the nine-page letter also declared that the inspectors would have to do their job "in accordance with international law" - an insertion which has sparked some speculation that the Iraqis may later challenge the team.
The letter added that a further document would be sent, laying out the clauses of the resolution which Iraq deems contrary to international law.
An advance team of inspectors is due to leave for Iraq on Monday, with inspections expected to begin after mid-December. Inspectors have to report to the Security Council in February, although they may notify any infringements any time before then.
Crucially, what remains unclear is who will decide whether Iraq has met the terms of the resolution - the US or the Security Council.
The BBC's Jon Leyne in Washington says it is this decision which could make the difference between war or peace.
Justification for war
Iraq had been given until Friday to accept the resolution, or face "serious consequences". There was some surprise that the letter had been delivered two days in advance of the deadline.
Although the Iraqi parliament unanimously rejected the proposal on Tuesday, Saddam Hussein took the final decision.
"The government found that it was better to say yes for two reasons," said Iraqi MP Mohammed Muzaffar Adhami.
"One is to avoid for the region and Iraq this threat of launching again aggression against Iraq by the Americans, and the second is to prove that we are a clean country, we don't have weapons of mass destruction."
The next deadline now facing the Iraqi regime is 8 December, when it must make a complete declaration of its weapons programmes. In its letter to Mr Annan, it insisted it had none.
Any statements which prove to be false could be used by the Americans as justification for war.
-- Anonymous, November 14, 2002