NEW YORK, 5 NOVEMBER 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3939th MEETING (The situation between Iraq and Kuwait)
After the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Secretary-General and the Government of Iraq last February and up to the beginning of August, we witnessed a period of progress in the disarmament activities in Iraq. This progress was due to the cooperation lent by the Iraqi authorities to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was acknowledged by the Council.
The Iraqi decision of 5 August put an end to what had finally become a positive trend a trend leading, we thought, to the swift completion of the road map known to Iraq as necessary to achieve the lifting of sanctions.
In a serious effort to re-establish such a trend, the Council, with the assistance of the Secretary-General, offered to engage, soon after Iraq were to rescind its unacceptable decision of 5 August, in a comprehensive review of Iraq's compliance with its obligations under the relevant resolutions, in order to identify any tasks which still needed to be undertaken to satisfy the remaining requirements of those resolutions.
In view of those efforts, it was with dismay and incomprehension that all Council members received the decision of Iraq, last Saturday, to cease any cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission and to continue to impose restrictions on the work of the IAEA, the effective operation of which is essential for the implementation of resolution 687 (1991).
The draft resolution we have before us contains the message the Council must now convey to Iraq. It expresses a firm condemnation of the Iraqi decision of 31 October; it renews the support of the Council for the Special Commission and the IAEA; and it demands that Iraq immediately rescind that decision, as well as the 5 August decision.
Iraq must understand that it cannot continue to miss the opportunities offered. Iraq cannot continue to delay fulfilling the conditions that will enable the Council to act in accordance with paragraphs 21 and 22 of resolution 687 (1991). Iraq cannot continue to delay the moment when the Council will be in a position to act on the duration of the prohibitions referred to in that resolution.
The draft resolution before us represents a firm, unambiguous and determined reaction by the Council. It also expresses, in no uncertain terms, the united response of all Council members to the Iraqi stand.
It is up to Iraq now. Iraq must immediately reconsider its position, re-engage once and for all on the path of cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, and ensure full compliance with its obligations. Only in this way will Iraq enable the Council to lift the sanctions.