Security Council Passes Tough Iraq Resolution
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2002 The United Nations Security Council today unanimously passed a strong resolution designed to force Saddam Hussein to disarm his weapons of mass destruction and obey previous Security Council resolutions.
"The resolution approved today presents the Iraqi regime with a test -- a final test," President Bush said following the vote in New York. "Iraq must now -- without delay or negotiations -- fully disarm, welcome full inspections and fundamentally change the approach it has taken for more than a decade."
Bush said the United States will be making only one determination: Is Iraq meeting the terms of the Security Council resolution or not? "The United States has agreed to discuss any material breach with the Security Council but without jeopardizing our freedom to defend our country," Bush said. "If Iraq fails to fully comply, the United States and other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein."
The resolution states clearly that Iraq must allow inspectors access to every site, document and person. The so-called presidential palaces in the country must be opened for inspections. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte called it a case of "anyone, anywhere, any place."
The president said Iraq's former strategy of cheating on the inspection regime, getting caught and then retreating, "will no longer be tolerated."
Any act of delay or defiance by Iraq will be an additional breach of the country's international obligations and a clear signal the Iraqi regime has once again abandoned the path of voluntary compliance, Bush said. "If we're to avert war, all nations must continue to pressure Saddam Hussein to accept this resolution and to comply with his obligations," he said.
Bush called on world leaders to not lapse into unproductive debates over whether specific instances of Iraqi defiance are serious. "Any Iraqi noncompliance is serious," he said.
The president said the United States will fully support the inspectors' efforts and called on the arms inspectors to use the new tools the resolution presents to them.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan urged governments with influence over Iraq to impress on Saddam Hussein that this is his last chance. "The road ahead will be difficult and dangerous," Annan said following the Security Council vote. "But empowered by this resolution, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency stand equipped to carry out their vital task.
"To succeed, they will require full and unconditional cooperation on the part of Iraq and the continued determination of the international community to pursue its common aim in a united and effective manner," Annan continued.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the position of the international community "unified and certain." He said Hussein's duty is to cooperate fully with inspectors. "It means a full declaration of the weapons that exist and their whereabouts," Blair said. "The obligation is to cooperate. It is not a game of hide-and-seek."
Bush thanked the Security Council members for their unanimous support and Secretary of State Colin Powell for his work in getting the resolution through the world body. The president said the members of the Security Council must maintain their unity and sense of purpose "so the Iraqi regime cannot revert to the strategies of obstruction and deception it used so successfully in the past."
He said he believes this resolution will bring about the full disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how," Bush said. "The United States prefers Iraq meets its obligations voluntarily, yet we're prepared for the alternative. In either case, the just demands of the world will be met."