February 14, 2003
|Germany's foreign minister says that Iraq must comply with United Nations resolutions, but that the Security Council should authorize "a reinforced inspection and verification regime" rather than armed conflict.|
MIN. FISCHER: I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the vice chancellor and minister for foreign affairs of Germany.
Mr. Secretary-General, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei for their update on the inspections in Iraq. They have briefed us on the substantial progress of their work, but also in deficits in the Iraqi regime's cooperation with the inspectors. These deficits must be rectified by Baghdad without delay. Iraq must not be allowed to possess any weapons of mass destruction and must disarm completely. Baghdad must actively and fully cooperate with UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and comply unconditionally with the requirements of the relevant resolutions.
The inspectors have reported on headway they have made. The first private interviews with Iraqi experts have taken place without official escorts. The problem of U-2 aerial surveillance has been resolved. Helicopters, drones, Mirage and Antonov aircraft are to be put at UNMOVIC's disposal to ensure comprehensive surveillance from the air.
The inspectors have thus been able to score some successes. Already today their presence on the ground has substantially diminished the danger emanating from Iraq. The need now is to gain experience with the new measures in place and evaluate them in the light of our common goal of ensuring Iraq's complete disarmament. Why should we now turn away from this path? Why should we now halt the inspections? On the contrary, the inspectors must be given the time they need to successfully complete their mission.
How we proceed from here is laid down by Resolutions 1441 and 1284. What is crucial are the resolutions' three core elements: full cooperation, inspection and verification.
Firstly, Iraq must cooperate fully, unconditionally and actively with the inspectors if the looming tragedy is to be averted.
Secondly, the inspection regime must be made more efficient. France has made very concrete proposals on how this can be done.
This envisages increasing the number of inspection teams and improving the technical resources at their disposal. In addition, the inspectors' capacities for coordination, surveillance, and concrete action need to be spelled out precisely and strengthened. We strongly support these proposals for they help ensure a response more appropriate to the size of the task.
Thirdly, and in parallel with the inspections, the verification and monitoring mechanisms called for in Resolution 1284 need to be developed and expanded. An ongoing long-term monitoring regime must prevent any future rearmament. We need structures that guarantee Iraq's disarmament and containment on a permanent basis. That is of immense importance for the whole region. Such a reinforced inspection and verification regime could also be of service to the United Nations in other crises involving weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Secretary-general, ladies and gentlemen, all possible options for resolving the Iraq crisis must be thoroughly explored. Whatever decisions need to be made must be taken by the Security Council alone. It remains the only body internationally authorized to do so. Military action against Iraq would, in addition to the terrible humanitarian consequences, above all, endanger the stability of a tense and troubled region. The consequences for the Near and Middle East could be catastrophic. There should be no automatism leading us to the use of military force. All possible alternatives need to be exhaustively explored. That was once again reaffirmed by the governments of Russia, France and Germany in a joint declaration issued on Monday. Diplomacy has not yet reached the end of the road.