U.N. poised to vote on new sanctions against Iraq
November 12, 1997
Web posted at: 12:10 p.m. EST (1710 GMT)
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- As the U.N. Security Council was
poised to vote on increasing sanctions against Iraq on
Wednesday, Baghdad again criticized the United States and
accused Washington of escalating the crisis.
The 15 members of the Security Council were expected to
reconvene around noon Wednesday for a final discussion and
vote on a resolution condemning Iraq for its standoff with U.N.
Diplomats were making one final attempt to persuade Iraq to
rescind its ban on U.S. arms inspectors serving on U.N.
|CNN's Peter Arnett asks Iraq's Foreign Minister Saeed
al-Sahhaf if he will expel American weapons inspectors if the
Security Council votes to increase sanctions.
383K/32 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
But shortly before the council was due to reconvene, Iraq's
Foreign Minister Saeed al-Sahhaf accused the United States of
having violated Iraqi airspace 984 times in the past few
weeks and of increasing spy plane flyovers.
"It is a very dangerous indication that the Americans are
escalating and trying to push the region to chaos," al-Sahhaf
told a news conference in Baghdad.
Al-Sahhaf also called on Arab countries not to accept what he
called Washington's violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
A few hours earlier at the United Nations, Iraqi Deputy Prime
Minister Tariq Aziz said he expected the Security Council to
pass a resolution condemning Iraq for blocking U.N. arms
Asked what Iraq's response would be to such a resolution,
Aziz told CNN if the proposed resolution is adopted, Iraq
will issue an order Thursday giving American weapons
inspectors one week to get out of the country.
Aziz had not been allowed to address the Security Council
about Iraq's concerns.
"The demands are clear," said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan on Wednesday. "Were Iraq to rescind its decision, the
council may be prepared to listen to Iraq, and therefore the
deputy prime minister,"
Council members were seeking unanimous approval for the
"It's the language that we wanted. It is strong language,"
said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson.
"It sends an unmistakable signal to Iraq that the
United Nations -- the special investigative team of the U.N.
and the Security Council -- are united to send a message to
Iraq that they back off immediately," he said.
Iraqi officials on Wednesday turned away the U.N. disarmament
inspectors, preventing them from carrying out their work for
the ninth time in the past 10 days.