Aziz: Baghdad won't budge
Iraq showdown moves to U.N.
November 10, 1997
Web posted at: 3:16 p.m. EST (2016 GMT)
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- As diplomats sought to avoid a
military confrontation over
Iraq's refusal to cooperate with arms inspections, a top
Iraqi official said his government is standing firm on its
refusal to allow Americans to take part.
"Those who create the crisis ... are Americans," said Iraqi
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, referring to American
members of UNSCOM, the U.N. Special Commission on Iraqi
|U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan explains the U.N. position
on the composition of weapons inspection teams:
247K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
|Deputy Prime Minister Tariz Aziz states the Iraqi objections
to the inspection teams:
323K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Aziz said U.N. charges about Iraq's refusal to cooperate
with arms inspections were often false and engineered by the
United States, which he accused of being hostile to the
government of President Saddam Hussein.
"The special commission, which is supposed to be an
impartial body of the United Nations, is dominated by
Americans who are implementing the policy of their
government. This is unacceptable," Aziz said after private
talks with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The two men met in advance of a Security Council meeting
later in the afternoon.
U-2 spy plane safely completes mission
Also on Monday, a U.N. spy plane safely flew over Iraq,
despite warnings from Saddam Hussein's government that it
would shoot down the aircraft.
Iraq told the United Nations it did not recognize the
flights, made by the U.S. Air Force on behalf of the United
Nations, as part of the weapons inspection program.
But the United States said Iraq had no right to make such a
challenge. "It is not for Iraq to decide whether it
recognizes what forces make up the U.N. inspection effort,"
Vice President Al Gore told reporters at the Pentagon.
Speaking at the same news conference, Defense Secretary
William Cohen said a U-2 spy plane mission over Iraq Monday
was completed without direct threats from Iraqi forces.
Iraqi military officials said the American aircraft, which
crossed into southern Iraq from northern Saudi Arabia,
remained outside the range of their gunners during the entire
three-hour flight in Iraqi airspace.
Iraqi radar tracked the flight, but at no time was the U-2
locked on by missile-firing radar, a Pentagon source told
Ground inspections scheduled for Monday were canceled. On
Sunday, Iraq barred U.N. weapon inspection teams that
included Americans for a seventh day.
Clinton urges 'strong' U.N. action
President Clinton looked to the Security Council for a
strong statement on the urgency of resuming U.N. weapons
inspections in Iraq and criticizing Baghdad's refusal to
cooperate as long as the there are Americans among the
"The United Nations U-2 plane was not fired upon," Clinton
said at the White House. "But it does not change the larger
issue, which is that the U.N. inspections have been stopped
by Saddam Hussein. So the next step is to get a very strong
resolution from the United Nations manifesting the
determination of the international community to resume those
Aziz at U.N.; Security Council to meet
Aziz arrived in New York on Monday on a flight from Paris and
met with Annan ahead of a meeting of the 15-nation Security
Council. Iraq's deputy prime minister "has not given us the
answer we hoped for," the U.N. secretary-general said
Speaking to reporters separately, Aziz accused the United
States of stirring up the crisis by using the U.N. weapons
inspection team for espionage.
He also criticized UNSCOM leader Richard Butler, who has
accused Iraq of tampering with surveillance hardware and
hiding equipment that could be used to make chemical or
biological weapons. "I challenge him to prove" the
allegations are true, Aziz said.
Aziz urged the U.N. Security Council to listen to Baghdad's
complaints "before stampeding another unjust resolution
U.S. ambassador 'doesn't expect much' from Aziz
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson said
earlier he did not believe anything Aziz told the U.N. would
resolve the crisis.
"He (Aziz) talks about dialog but when the Iraqis come to the
U.N. it's just more delay and deception and denials so we
don't expect much from this visit," Richardson told CNN in a
live interview before Aziz's arrival.
Iraq has said that American weapons inspectors working with
the United Nations are spies trying to prolong U.N. economic
sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990 and
was defeated in the 1991 Gulf War.
"We want to see a strong (Security Council) resolution with
teeth, with punitive measures ... to get Iraq ... to restore
the inspection teams," Richardson said.
The United States has said it isn't ruling out any options,
including military action.
In addition to an end of sanctions, Iraq wants a timetable
for an end to inspections, which are the key to lifting the
crippling economic sanctions imposed on the country after
it invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Correspondents Richard Roth and Brent Sadler contributed to