US Inconsistency on Arms Inspections

D OC donaloc at
Tue Sep 17 03:04:30 MDT 2002

As if we didn't already know...

POLITICS: US Rejects Iranian and Cuban UN Arms Inspectors

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 3 (IPS) - The United States has quietly struck out the
names of Cuban and Iranian nationals from a U.N. arms inspection team due to
probe U.S. chemical weapons facilities.
''Ironically, the U.S. is exercising the same right it refuses to concede to
the Iraqis,'' an Asian diplomat told IPS, ''The United States may have the
right to do so under the existing Convention, but it is interesting to note
that Iraq is virtually fighting for the same principle.''


Long before an inspection team visits a country possessing chemical
weapons - such as the United States or Russia - it is given a list of
inspectors who should have unrestricted access to arms facilities. But
Washington has rejected both Cubans and Iranians from U.N. inspection teams,
presumably for political and security reasons.


The current deadlock in Baghdad can be traced to an Iraqi demand to
determine the composition of the U.N. arms inspection team looking for
weapons of mass destruction, namely nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons. Since the inspection teams consists mainly of British and U.S.
nationals, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz has complained they are
''dominated by Anglo- Saxons.''

Aziz has also charged that some of the U.N. inspectors are working for the
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He has also accused the team leader,
Scott Ritter, who served in the Gulf War, of being ''an American spy.''

''We are going to explain our case to real (arms) experts, not to cops,''
Aziz said last month.

The 44-member team led by Ritter, a US national, includes 28 who are
classified as arms inspectors. Of the 28, there are 10 US nationals, five
Britons, three French, two Austrians and one each from Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Brazil, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.


Russia, France and China - three of the five veto-wielding permanent members
of the Security Council - have already volunteered more of their arms
experts to the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) investigating Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction.

Last month Russia offered 60 additional experts, China three and France two.
France has also offered Eric Fournier, a senior political counsellor in
Paris, to join the UNSCOM headquarters staff in New York. Fournier is
regarded an expert in non- proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The
three Chinese have already been incorporated in the team.

Meanwhile a new panel of UNSCOM experts will reflect wider geographical
representation because it includes nationals of China, France, Germany,
Russia and Iraq, as well as U.S. and British nationals.


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