NEW YORK, 2 MARCH 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3858th MEETING (the situation between Iraq and Kuwait)
My delegation is pleased to see you, Sir, such a distinguished representative of your country, presiding over this meeting. We could not have a better start for our work this month under Gambian leadership.
One week ago in Baghdad, the Secretary-General and the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding which offered new perspectives for ending the crisis between Iraq and the United Nations. As the Secretary-General underlined, this is not just any type of agreement: the Iraqi leadership is committed to this agreement at its highest level, since it was negotiated by Mr. Kofi Annan directly with President Saddam Hussein.
This remarkable diplomatic achievement averted war and immediately garnered the unanimous support of the members of the Council. The Council had encouraged the Secretary-General to go to Baghdad and try to achieve a diplomatic solution to the crisis in accordance with all relevant resolutions.
It is now incumbent upon the Council to do its part, by endorsing the agreement reached by the Secretary-General in Baghdad. The expression of the Council's unanimous support for the Secretary-General's démarche is clearly reflected in the draft resolution that we have before us, which my delegation supports. In this draft resolution, the Council commends the initiative of the Secretary-General and endorses the Memorandum of Understanding.
In welcoming this outcome, my delegation naturally expects that this Memorandum will be implemented as soon as possible. All sites in Iraq are now accessible to United Nations inspection. We now have a new opportunity to see that all relevant resolutions of the Security Council are finally fulfilled. We look forward to the rapid completion of the necessary procedures in order to allow United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discharge their mandate.
The unity of the Council in adopting this draft resolution will send a strong and unambiguous signal to Baghdad. The implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding obviously requires Iraq's full cooperation. We trust that Iraq will not fail to live up to its commitments.
UNSCOM and IAEA have a task to complete on behalf of the Council, and we want them to be able to do it rapidly and efficiently. The objectives of this task ensuring the inability of Iraq to use prohibited weapons of mass destruction are clearly outlined in resolution 687 (1991). We should not forget that to achieve those objectives is to open the way to the lifting of the sanctions, which so dramatically affect the Iraqi people. Both these aspects are reaffirmed in the present draft resolution. In this context, the importance of the action taken by the Council the week before last in adopting resolution 1153 (1998), on the reinforcement of the humanitarian programme in Iraq, as recommended by the Secretary-General, should not be ignored.
We hope this message of unity from the Council will open a new era of cooperation between the Iraqi Government and the United Nations, since we genuinely want the Iraqi nation to regain as soon as possible its full stature within the international community and the Iraqi people to see an end to their suffering.