NEW YORK, 12 NOVEMBER 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3831st MEETING (the situation between Iraq and Kuwait)
Portugal deeply regrets this serious crisis, which was provoked by the Iraqi challenge to the authority of the Security Council. The obstacles repeatedly raised by the Iraqi authorities in the last months to the work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) are unacceptable. The Special Commission is an arm of the Security Council, with the duty to conduct inspections on its behalf. Challenging UNSCOM is challenging the Council is challenging the United Nations. That is intolerable.
Also intolerable is the decision announced by Iraq on 29 October and the Iraqi behaviour since then: the conditions Iraq has sought to impose on UNSCOM operations; its refusal to accept members of the Special Commission on grounds of their nationality; the removal of equipment; the threats against aircraft in the service of the United Nations.
The present draft resolution, which we have joined in sponsoring, is the logical outcome of previous decisions taken by the Council since June. Then, the Council sent a clear message of warning to the Government of Iraq by adopting unanimously resolution 1115 (1997). By that resolution the Council called upon Iraq to cooperate fully with the Special Commission or face additional sanctions.
On 29 October, the Council, once again unanimously, through the voice of its President, made a strong statement of condemnation of the decision of the Government of Iraq in attempting to dictate the terms of its cooperation with the Special Commission. The Council also warned of the serious consequences of Iraq's failure to comply immediately and fully with its obligations.
Portugal has supported all diplomatic efforts developed to make the Iraqi authorities understand the need to rescind their unacceptable decision and comply unconditionally with their obligations. We welcomed in particular the initiative taken by the Secretary-General in sending personal representatives all the way to Baghdad to try to convey this message directly to the Iraqi Government. Unfortunately, we have not seen any positive results.
This draft resolution is therefore the necessary next step. The additional sanctions foreseen are sharply targeted in order not to impose further suffering on the Iraqi population, which has made many sacrifices, or on neighbouring countries. They are designed to affect those Iraqi officials and members of the Iraqi armed forces who are responsible for Iraq's non-compliance with its obligations.
Nobody should forget why ultimately we are here, confronted with another crisis with Iraq one more such crisis since 1990. Iraq faces sanctions imposed by the Security Council because Iraq violated international law by invading another country. The United Nations has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Nor is it the aim of the United Nations to question Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It is in the hands of the Government of Iraq to bring an end to these sanctions. The only way they can be lifted is through Iraq's full compliance with the resolutions of the Security Council. They can be lifted soon, provided Iraq cooperates fully, honestly and unconditionally with UNSCOM.
We hope this clear message from the Council will finally be understood in Baghdad, so that a new path of true cooperation with the Security Council will be opened. We want the Iraqi nation to regain its full role within the international community and the Iraqi people to see an end to their suffering.