WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The United States will oppose the
return of international weapons inspectors to Iraq unless the U.N.
Security Council passes a new resolution first, outlining both the
need for those inspections to be unfettered and the consequences
to Iraq if they are not, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday.
His comments follow an
announcement in Vienna by Hans Blix,
chief U.N. weapons inspector that Iraq
had agreed to allow the return of a
preliminary contingent of inspectors
within two weeks.
Secretary of State Colin Powell
Tuesday said, "We do not believe they
should go back in under the old set of
resolutions and under the old
inspections regime. And therefore we
do not believe they should go in until
they have new instructions in the form
of a new resolution."
Earlier Tuesday, a senior State
Department official told United Press International that if such a
resolution were unattainable, the United States would "go into
In Vienna Tuesday, Blix, who is chairman of the U.N. Monitoring,
Verification and Inspections Commission, said the talks with Iraq
dealt with the logistics for a return of inspectors after a four-year
hiatus, but added that Iraqi officials had assured him they would be
granted unfettered access to suspected weapons sites.
He said the talks, which included representatives of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, were "businesslike and
The agreement, however, did not sideline a 1998 memorandum
of understanding negotiated by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
and endorsed by the Security Council, which placed restrictions on
surprise inspections at eight so-called "presidential sites."
Those sites cover hundreds of acres both within and outside of
Baghdad, and critics of the inspection process argued that the
memorandum gave too much leeway to the Iraqis to hide potential
weapons production equipment.
"On the question of access, it was clarified that all sites are
subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access," Blix
said in a statement.
"However, the Memorandum of Understanding of 1998
established special procedures for access to eight presidential
He also said that the Baghdad team handed over four CD-ROMs
containing the backlog of semi-annual reports Iraq was to deliver to
the United Nations since 1998.
The UNMOVIC chairman said he expected lead inspectors to be
on the ground by Oct. 15 and that they could fly into the country,
landing at Baghdad's Saddam International Airport, rather than at
the Habbaniya landing strip some 50 miles from the capital.
"We went through a very great many practical arrangements," he
said. "They start with when do you fly in to Baghdad, then how are
the customs controls, what can you bring in, the accommodations
of inspectors in Baghdad, the premises for our center in Baghdad
and (its) refurbishment, the movement within Iraq."
Conditions on inspectors entering the restricted sites would be a
sticking point with the United States and Britain, who say the
complexes must be open to inspection since contraband material
could be concealed there.
The White House Tuesday afternoon was unavailable for
immediate comment on the Blix deal.
Blix is scheduled to brief the United Nations Thursday on his
talks with the Iraqi delegation.
Also Tuesday -- at a meeting at U.N. world headquarters in New
York -- the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the council
failed to reach agreement on a text for a U.S. draft resolution on Iraq.
Ambassadors from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United
States left their closed-door session adjacent to the formal council
chamber tight-lipped, refusing questions from reporters.
It had been hoped, diplomatic sources said, that should
Washington gain support from the other members of the
veto-wielding five, the text would be distributed among the other 10
members of the council.
The French have threatened to use their veto against any single
resolution that would authorize military force against Baghdad for
refusing to live up to agreements made after the Gulf War. They
want the consequences for Iraq discussed in a second resolution, if
and when Saddam tries to prevent inspectors doing their job.
Russia and China, two other permanent members of the Security
Council, have also voiced opposition to any new resolution
authorizing the use of force.
The United States and Britain are the remaining two veto-casting
members of the council.
Speaking to the Public Broadcasting Service Monday evening,
Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that there were
differences of opinion among U.S. allies.
"The debate we're having with some of our Security Council
colleagues is whether those consequences (for Iraq) should be
indicated or spelled out in this first resolution, or whether there
should be a second resolution," he said.
The White House, however, has made it clear President George
W. Bush continues to seek a single U.N. resolution -- thereby
avoiding having to return to the Security Council at a later date to
seek a further mandate.
"What I won't accept is something that allows Saddam Hussein
to continue to lie, to cheat the world, Bush said Tuesday. "He's been
doing that for 11 years.
"I'm not going to accept something that is weak. It's not worth it.
The United Nations has to show its backbone. ... I'm not going to
accept the status quo."
Officials have said that the United States will propose a
resolution that would authorize military force if Iraq should again
interfere with weapons inspections or delay disarmament.
In Congress, Bush is also seeking a resolution authorizing
military force. Although the White House argues that U.S. law does
not compel Bush to seek such a document, having one would send
a powerful message of U.S. unity and that Washington is serious in
challenging the Iraqi dictator.
"We'll be speaking with one voice here in the country, and that is
going to be important for the United Nations to hear that voice and it
will be important for the world to hear that voice..." Bush said.
On Monday State Department Undersecretary for Political Affairs
Marc Grossman returned to Washington from Paris and Moscow
after lobbying for the single resolution scenario in his talks in both
(Bill Reilly contributed to this story from the United Nations)