U.N. prepares for showdown with Iraq
Spy flight safely completes mission
November 10, 1997
Web posted at: 10:48 a.m. EST (1548 GMT)
- No attack on U-2 spy plane
- No ground inspections scheduled
- U.N. Security Council to meet on Iraq
- Iraqi official to plead Baghdad's case
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- A United Nations spy plane safely
flew over Iraq on Monday despite warnings from Saddam Hussein's government that it would shoot down the aircraft. The flight came hours before the Security Council was to meet to discuss Iraq's refusal to cooperate with arms inspections.
Iraqi military officials said the American U-2 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.
According to a Pentagon source, Iraqi radar tracked the
flight, but at no time was the U-2 locked on by
On Sunday, Iraq barred U.N. weapon inspection teams that
included Americans for a seventh day and sent Deputy Prime
Minister Tariq Aziz to argue its case before the 15-member
Security Council, which meets on Monday afternoon.
Aziz was expected to meet first with Secretary-General Kofi
Annan but U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill
Richardson said the United States was not expecting a
"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 said.
Shortly before Aziz left Paris for New York, the United
Nations announced that no ground inspections would take place
in Iraq on Monday.
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.
The U-2 flights are considered integral to the weapons
The United States will be seeking the "strongest possible
action" against Iraq when the Security Council meets to
discuss Baghdad's refusal to cooperate with U.N. arms
inspections as long as they include Americans.
"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 is) not ruling out any options, including
a military option," the U.N. ambassador told CNN in a live
interview on Monday morning.
Iraq also wants a timetable for an end to inspections, which
are the key to lifting the crippling international economic
sanctions imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Correspondents Richard Roth and Brent Sadler contributed to