Aldouri: 'Unprecedented cooperation'
(CNN) -- Following is a transcript of Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Aldouri's response to weapons inspectors' February 14 presentation to the U.N. Security Council on the progress of the inspection effort in Iraq.
ALDOURI: In the name of God, the compassionate (inaudible) Mr. President, I thank you. And I thank this august council for this opportunity granted Iraq to participate in this session and to address this Security Council within the time allotted us.
I have listened very carefully to the presentation by Dr. Blix, the chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and Dr. ElBaradei, the director general of the IAEA, as well as the esteemed members of the Security Council, and I should like to point out the following.
Iraq accepted to deal with Resolution 1441 based on the fact that this is the means to reach a solution to the so-called issue of the disarmament of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Following three rounds of technical negotiations with the United Nations, following the return of inspectors to Iraq, Iraq indeed provided all that may fall within the concept of a proactive Iraqi cooperation.
And I should like to point to the following. Iraq submitted the declaration required under paragraph 3 of Resolution 1441 in record time. The declaration contained many documents on previous Iraqi programs in the nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic fields.
We continue to believe that these documents require in-depth study by the relevant authorities, because they contain updated information responding to many questions. We have the right to wonder has the declaration been subjected to study with due-diligence and depth or should the declaration be reconsidered as a whole by the relevant authorities? We should like the file to be reconsidered in total.
Second, Iraq's doors were open to the inspection teams without restrictions or conditions. And the world -- the entire world -- was surprised at this level of unprecedented cooperation. We know that some states were not very happy with this cooperation; in fact, some would have wished Iraq had obstructed inspections or locked some doors. However, this did not and will not happen because Iraq has genuinely decided to prove that it is free of weapons of mass destruction and to lift any doubt in that regard.
And let me mention what Drs. Blix and ElBaradei stated this morning: 675 inspections have taken place so far within Iraq. In this short of period of time, the inspectors have found no evidence contradicting Iraq's declarations or bolstering the allegations asserted by the United States and the United Kingdom on the proscribed weapons programs or, indeed, the weapons alleged by the distinguished representative of the U.K. this morning.
Now, concerning interviews with Iraqi scientists, the government of Iraq continues to encourage those scientists to accept interviews. Additional lists of names containing other scientists have been submitted following the requests by Drs. Blix and ElBaradei. Other lists are on their way, as they know.
Four, Iraq did agree to over-flights by U-2 aircraft, by Mirage aircraft and by Antonov 2 aircraft in Iraqi airspace for surveillance purposes. It is logical and reasonable that while these aircraft are undergoing their missions, it is reasonable and logical for British and U.S. warplanes to cease air strikes, because this will affect the security. Thus, inspectors have six levels of aerial surveillance, beginning with satellites, followed by high-altitude surveillance aircraft, the U-2, then medium-level aircraft, the Mirage aircraft, then low-level aircraft, Antonov 2, followed by helicopters and other means for aerial surveillance.
As for the issue of the Iraqi penal legislation that some have considered among the important elements of Iraqi's cooperation, Iraq had not had a negative position in this regard. We had technical considerations.
At any rate, the decree was enacted today in order to end the controversy surrounding this matter. I was surprised to hear some say that this decree was unimportant or late in coming.
Concerning other issues, UNMOVIC, following its establishment, adopted a process that includes merging outstanding disarmament issues within the reinforced monitoring system, and this was referenced in its report to the Security Council S-2292. However, in order to facilitate UNMOVIC's mission in identifying these issues and resolving them, Iraq in its full, comprehensive and updated declaration of the 7th of December 2002, provided full details on these outstanding issues and the means to resolve them. Nevertheless, Iraq has begun to proactively cooperate with UNMOVIC, having lately agreed to discuss these issues with Iraq. And we have provided 24 documents pertaining to many of the outstanding issues.
Two commissions have been set up, made up of high Iraqi officials and scientists to consider these issues and to provide all the information thereon. And this has been requested by Drs. Blix and ElBaradei on more than one occasion.
After all that, we continue to face allegations by some that Iraq not only has not cooperated, but rather that Iraq is in material breach of 1441. Our question is, where is this material breach? Is it as asserted in the allegations made by the United States of America at the previous session, which did not gain acceptance by many states in the world or is the matter related to the concept of proactive cooperation required of Iraq? Many in this forum have called for proactive cooperation.
What is this proactive cooperation? If it means that Iraq is to show weapons of mass destruction, we would respond saying: Mr. President, by an Arab proverb I hope will be interpreted correctly, an empty hand has nothing to give. You cannot give what you don't have. If we do not possess such weapons, how can we disarm ourselves of such weapons? Indeed, how can they be disarmed when they do not exist?
At any rate, we join the cause of those who do believe that the best means to resolve these issues is continuing proactive cooperation with the inspectors. We do not stand with those who want failure for the inspection work.
And I would refer to the quote in The Washington Post from members of the U.S. Senate, and I quote, "We, the U.S. government, have undermined the inspectors."
As for the missile issue, I should like to point out, distinguished ministers and ambassadors, that Iraq -- and I say that to the uninformed -- Iraq declared these missiles in its biannual declaration and in its full declaration to the Security Council. They were not uncovered by the inspectors. Iraq continues to stress that these missiles, delivered to our armed forces, do not have a range of over 150 kilometers. The issue was lately discussed with the UNMOVIC experts.
Iraq believes that this issue can be taken up toward a technical solution, and therefore it is not logical to accuse Iraq that it is going beyond the permitted range so long as Iraq is dealing with these issues in full transparency, so long as its establishments and test areas are open and under oversight. Iraq would suggest in this regard that test-firings can be undertaken through a random choice of missiles in order to ascertain the range. However, the option of dialogue is open between technical parties in Iraq and within UNMOVIC in order to reach a satisfactory solution to this issue.
Mr. President, when it comes to VX and anthrax, which were also mentioned, Iraq has put forward practical proposals to resolve these issues among other outstanding issues. These are related to VX, to anthrax, as well as some chemical precursors, as well as information on growth media. Iraq suggested that one could ascertain the amount of VX and anthrax destroyed through measuring the dissolved quantities of VX and anthrax in the unilateral destruction sites. And that there is a means to extrapolate the quantity destroyed through scientific investigation and comparing that with Iraq's declaration. And therefore, the issue needs perseverance because it is a difficult subject.
Mr. President, in conclusion, at a time when voices in the world are rising, calling on the United States and Great Britain to heed reason and to respect international legitimacy, the United States of America and the United Kingdom continue to mass forces against Iraq in an unjust cruel campaign, believing that this vast media campaign will make the world silent.
We would like to stress that Iraq has chosen the path of peace. We want to reach solutions that satisfy the international community. We are prepared to provide all means to assist in clarifying the real picture to avoid the objectives of those who are ill-intentioned, who wish to ignite a war in Iraq with incalculable consequences toward clear colonial objectives.
We wish the Security Council to follow the wish of the vast majority of member-states in the United Nations. It is to give the inspectors their full role by undertaking their tasks through the path of dialogue and proactive cooperation leading certainly to peace and not war. We would also seriously call on the Security Council to consider lifting the unjust embargo imposed on Iraq and to rise to its commitments by respecting Iraq's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We call upon it to continue to work toward the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East in implementation of paragraph 14 of Resolution 687.
I thank you, Mr. President.