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Iraq States Its Case

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 720 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... IRAQ STATES ITS CASE By Mohammed Aldouri Iraqi
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 17, 2002
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      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 720
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.

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      IRAQ STATES ITS CASE
      By Mohammed Aldouri
      Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations
      New York Times
      Thursday, October 17, 2002

      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/17/opinion/17ALDO.html?todaysheadlines

      After so many years of fear from war, the threat of war and suffering, the
      people of Iraq and their government in Baghdad are eager for peace. We have
      no intention of attacking anyone, now or in the future, with weapons of any
      kind. If we are attacked, we will surely defend ourselves with all means
      possible. But bear in mind that we have no nuclear or biological or chemical
      weapons, and we have no intention of acquiring them.

      We are not asking the people of the United States or of any member state of
      the United Nations to trust in our word, but to send the weapons inspectors
      to our country to look wherever they wish unconditionally. This means
      unconditional access anywhere, including presidential sites in accordance
      with a 1998 signed agreement between Iraq and the United Nations ‹ an
      agreement that ensures respect for Iraq's sovereignty and allows for
      transparency in the work of the inspectors. We could never make this claim
      with such openness if we did not ourselves know there is nothing to be
      found.

      Still, we continue to read statements by officials of the United States and
      the United Kingdom that it is not enough that Hans Blix, head of the United
      Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, and his team of
      inspectors have unconditional access. They say this is because the Iraqi
      government may be hiding weapons that will not be found, or is moving
      weapons from place to place, or is developing new weapons in roving vans or
      in underground locations.

      The United Nations officials with whom our government has worked on these
      matters know that these concerns have no foundation. In December 1998, when
      the United Nations weapons inspection team left Iraq on the orders of
      Richard Butler, the chief United Nations arms inspector at the time, it had
      exhausted all possibilities after seven years of repeatedly examining all
      possible sites; only small discrepancies existed.

      It is now widely conceded that Iraq possesses no nuclear weapons and that we
      could not develop them without building facilities that could be spotted by
      satellite. Since 1999, we have allowed the International Atomic Energy
      Agency to visit Iraq. If it wishes, it can inspect any building anywhere.
      The agency's inspectors will find nothing untoward.

      Scott Ritter, who led many United Nations inspections, has said that he
      questions whether Iraq possesses biological weapons. Mr. Ritter also has
      been on CNN in recent months explaining that his inspection team destroyed
      plants that could produce chemical weapons. If these plants were
      reconstructed, Mr. Blix and his team would quickly find them out. Building
      such weapons costs billions of dollars and requires enormous facilities and
      huge power sources. The idea that such projects could be moved around in
      trucks or stashed away in presidential palaces stretches the bounds of
      imagination.

      It is my belief that the American people are not aware of this history
      because, in my opinion and the opinion of my government, no American
      political figure has been seriously interested in discussing these matters
      with our government. The United Nations was created in 1945 to provide a
      forum for nations in conflict to come together to work out their
      disagreements. It was designed expressly for the purpose of making the use
      of force an absolute last resort.

      For more than 11 years, the people of Iraq have suffered under United
      Nations economic sanctions, which have been kept in place largely by
      American influence. According to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Ministry
      of Health, these sanctions have caused the death of more than 1.7 million of
      our citizens. The embargo has been so severe that we have been prevented
      from importing chemicals needed for our sewage, water and sanitation
      facilities.

      At the same time, the last three American presidents have stated that these
      sanctions could not be lifted as long as our president, Saddam Hussein,
      remains the nation's leader.

      Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors. It certainly is not a threat to the
      United States or any of its interests in the Middle East. Once the United
      Nations inspection team comes back into my country and gets up to speed, I
      am confident that it will certify that Iraq has no weapons of mass
      destruction -- be they chemical, biological or nuclear. Such certification,
      we hope, will remove the shadow of war and help restore peace between our
      nations.

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