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4 December 1991

Letter dated 4 December 1991 from the Executive Chairman, Office of the Special Commission established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), addressed to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to recall paragraph 3 of Security Council resolution 699 (1991) of 17 June 1991, which requests the Secretary-General to submit, every six months after the adoption of the resolution, progress reports on the implementation of the provisions of section C of resolution 687 (1991) relating to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

You will further recall that, on 25 October 1991, a first report by the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) was circulated on your instructions to the Security Council in document S/23165. This first report summarized all activities undertaken by the Special Commission and by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the implementation of section C of resolution 687 (1991) up to the middle of October 1991. Additionally, at the request of the Director-General of IAEA, the reports prepared by seven inspection teams led by the Agency have been circulated as Security Council documents (S/22788, S/22837, S/22986 and Corr.l, S/23112, S/23122 and S/23215). A report of the eighth IAEA-led inspection will be circulated in the course of December.

To comply with the provisions of paragraph 3 of Security Council resolution 699 (1991 ), I am transmitting herewith the text of a progress report which brings up to date the first report referred to in the previous paragraph.

I would be most grateful if you would circulate the attached second report as a document of the Security Council.

(Signed) Rolf Ekeus
Executive Chairman
Office of the Special Commission

Second report by the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991)


1. The present report by the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991 ) covers the work of the Commission for the period from 15 October to 4 December 1991. This second report is confined to operational activities and matters directly pertinent thereto as these are the areas which need to be brought up to date to provide, together with the first report by the Executive Chairman (S/23165), a comprehensive picture of the establishment and functioning of the Special Committee since the adoption of Security Council resolutions 687 (1991) and 699 (1991).

Attitude of Iraq

2. The first report by the Executive Chairman contained, in paragraphs 16 to 19, a comprehensive account of the attitude of Iraq. In the period under review this attitude has not changed. In respect of sites and activities declared by Iraq and the issue of Iraq's participation in the destruction of chemical weapons, cooperation at the field level has been forthcoming. However, in respect of sites designated by the Special Commission, where the Commission and IAEA are acting on their own sources of information regarding possible clandestine conduct of proscribed activities, non-cooperation and obstruction continue to be encountered. There is thus no progress to report which would indicate a change of policy on the part of Iraq to one of candour, transparency and cooperation at all levels. As the Executive Chairman remarked in the first report, this is probably the one single element that could contribute most substantially to a timely and satisfactory implementation of the mandate of the Special Commission and of IAEA.

3. The Special Commission has had to remain vigilant in the period under review to prevent implementation of measures proposed by Iraq which could impinge upon the facilities, privileges and immunities of the Commission and of IAEA in matters such as the taking into and out of Iraq of all necessary equipment, materials and other items required for inspections and the analysis of their results and the taking of photographs at sites under inspection. So far the strong position taken by the Commission and the Chief Inspectors involved seems to have been successful in preserving the rights concerned.

4. With respect to ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq's compliance with paragraphs 10 and 13 of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), the Special Commission has very recently received in New York from Iraq information which the Government states to be "the information required under resolution 687 (1991) that comes within the mandate of the Special Commission". Until the information is translated, the Commission cannot determine the extent to which it meets the substantive requirements of the Special Commission's and IAEA's plans for ongoing monitoring and verification (S/22871/Rev.l and S/22872/Rev.l and Corr.l) which were unanimously approved by the Security Council in its resolution 715 (1991), although it may be observed that certain procedural requirements laid down in the plans as to time-limits and languages of submission have not been met. If the Commission and IAEA are to be in a position to carry out their functions in connection with ongoing monitoring and verification, the Commission deems it to be of great importance that Iraq expressly recognize its obligations under the two plans and Security Council resolution 715 (1991). Such express recognition is still awaited.

Nuclear issues

5. Two more inspections were completed (IAEA 7/UNSCOM 19 and IAEA 8/UNSCOM 22), one each in October (11 to 22 October) and November (11 to 18 November), since the sixth nuclear inspection summarized in the previous report. In addition to the successful removal of unirradiated fuel from Iraq, the inspection teams focused much of their inspection activity on a number of sites associated with (a) Iraq's programme to design and develop the non-nuclear components of a nuclear weapon and (b) centrifuge component manufacture.

6. Significantly, Iraq provided for the first time to the seventh nuclear inspection team formal though incomplete written acknowledgement of its nuclear weapons programme:

"Various research and studies of the sort to which you refer as 'weaponization' have been carried out. The objective in carrying out such research and studies was to establish the practical, technical and scientific requirements for a programme of this nature in the event that a political decision were to be taken to proceed in that direction,"

7. The extensive and detailed documentation of the nuclear weapons programme that was obtained by the sixth inspection team, and its removal from Iraq only after that team's detainment in a parking lot for four days, preceded the Iraqi admission to the seventh team of having conducted research and studies on nuclear weapons. In fact, the seventh and eighth inspection teams visited designated facilities judged to be directly associated with the testing and development of the high-explosive components of the implosion system of a nuclear weapon. The characteristics of these facilities were considered inconsistent with Iraq's explanations of their purpose. Thus, Iraq's position that it conducted studies but had no programme to develop nuclear weapons is inconsistent with both documents and inspection results that reveal a well-funded and broadly based programme involving sophisticated facilities for nuclear weapons development.

8. In the area of fissile material production, important questions put to Iraq remain unanswered. While much of the electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) equipment has been turned over for destruction, the critical collector pockets which would permit confirmation of Iraq's assertions that only low levels of enrichment were achieved have not been produced for analysis. Substantial uncertainties also remain over the centrifuge programme where Iraq has produced some but not all parts and materials, and failed to reveal the sources of its supply of critical parts and materials. Even less information has been produced by Iraq on their efforts in the diffusion and chemical separation processes. All this is especially troubling in the light of preliminary results of sampling accomplished at Al Tuwaitha, and noted in the IAEA seventh inspection report (S/23215), that provide evidence of uranium enriched to 93 per cent in the isotope U235. Additional sampling was undertaken by the seventh and eighth inspection teams. Analysis and further investigation are clearly required.

9. Iraq's recent record in the nuclear area is consistent with, if less dramatic than, its actions over the last six months that included the concealment of evidence of plutonium separation, of uranium enrichment, and of nuclear weapons development, of refusal to permit inspection teams to enter some sites and exit others, and confiscation of documents from inspectors in the course of an inspection. In sum, Iraq has not cooperated in the critical area of nuclear-weapons-related activity and the Special Commission and IAEA are some distance from achieving the transparency which is sought.

Chemical and biological weapons

10. Since the first report was prepared, two further chemical inspections have been completed, one being the long and detailed inspection of the Al Muthanna State Establishment (7 October to 8 November 1991 ) while the other visited a series of declared chemical munitions storage sites (22 October to 2 November 1991). There has also been a combined chemical and biological weapons inspection which visited (17 to 30 November 1991), at very short notice, a number of sites designated by the Special Commission as being of potential chemical weapons and/or biological weapons interest in addition to revisiting the original site at Salman Pak.

11. The technically very successful inspection of Al Muthanna (UNSCOM 17) compiled a comprehensive and detailed inventory of the site, including facilities, munitions, agents, agent condition, precursors and intermediates. Among the salient findings were the discovery of small quantities of the nerve agents sec.butvl sarin. n-butyl sarin and ethyl sarin, although Iraq has disputed the identification of the latter two agents. While the quantities found were of no direct military significance, the relevance of the finding lies in the fact that Iraq clearly had carried out research on nerve agents other than those previously declared.

12. Although the mustard agent at Al Muthanna was generally of good quality (typically 90 per cent), the nerve agents were found to have undergone extensive degradation and the agent content was very low, generally below 10 per cent and in some cases below the 1 per cent level. This new information may have significant repercussions for the process finally selected for the destruction of the nerve agents as well as for the safety hazards likely to be encountered during destruction; both aspects will need further consideration.

13. In general, the findings of the inspection at Al Muthanna were in substantial agreement with Iraq's declaration, although in the case of the 122 mm rockets a precise and full count was not possible as the rockets generally were found to be in a very dangerous condition. Explosive demolition was considered to be the safest means of achieving their destruction since opening and draining operations would be particularly hazardous.

14. The inspection of the remaining declared storage sites (UNSCOM 20) was likewise a successful operation. All the declared sites, some of them distant from Baghdad and therefore requiring the use of United Nations helicopter transport, were inspected, the chemical weapons munitions verified, counted and recorded; where it was safe to transport the munitions to Al Muthanna the necessary instructions to this effect were given to Iraq. At Al-Tuz, Khamisiyah and Muhammadiyat numbers of munitions were discovered, including but not restricted to 122 mm rockets, which were considered to be in too unsafe a condition to move and for which a drilling and draining operation would be very hazardous. A recommendation was made on safety grounds that these items should be destroyed in situ by explosive demolition. In a few cases, due to extensive destruction by coalition bombing, it was not possible to observe and count all munitions; when the damage had been less extensive the number and types of munitions observed accorded well with the Iraqi declarations.

15. The combined chemical and biological weapons inspection (UNSCOM 21), except for the revisit to Salman Pak, concentrated on short notice inspection of undeclared sites designated by the Special Commission; some 13 sites were inspected.

16. The inspection was completed only very recently and the full official report is therefore not at present available. Field reporting, however, indicates that no chemical- or biological-weapons-related activities were associated with any of the designated sites. In the course of the inspection a small sub-team was dispatched to Al Muthanna to witness an Iraqi experiment with a simulant to prove the use of the modified pilot plant for exploratory work on the destruction of nerve agents; this was successful.

17. Since the first report was prepared a small (4 person) mission has visited Iraq for detailed technical discussions (11 to 15 November 1991) with Iraqi counterparts on various of the issues related to the destruction of chemical weapons and agents, with particular emphasis on the direct involvement of Iraq in this process and on safety aspects. Issues discussed and on which the Special Commission team made recommendations included an Iraqi design for a mustard agent incinerator, the destruction of nerve agents by caustic hydrolysis, and the breaching and draining of munitions.

18. When, in the very near future, all the data compiled by UNSCOM 17 at the Al Muthanna State Establishment have been analysed, the Special Commission will have a very good understanding of Iraq's declared major primary chemical weapons site. Furthermore, the discussions on the destruction of chemical weapons and agents have resulted in a considerable improvement in technical understanding by both sides, particularly as regards the potential hazards involved in some operations and of the technologies potentially available for implementing the various destruction processes. Commencement of the destruction process early in 1992 can thus be confidently expected.

Ballistic missiles and long-range guns

19. With respect to ballistic missiles, by the end of 1991 two additional Special Commission ballistic missile inspections (UNSCOM 23 and UNSCOM 24) are expected to have been completed. To date, Special Commission inspection teams have, according to the latest revised data, supervised the destruction of 62 ballistic missiles, 18 fixed missile launch pads, 33 ballistic missile warheads, 127 missile storage support racks, a substantial amount of rocket fuel, an assembled 350 mm supergun, components of two 350 and two 1,000 mm superguns, and I tonne of supergun propellant.

20. So far, no information has come to light which clearly contradicts Iraq's disclosure of 5 July 1991 with respect to the status of its ballistic missile force. Nevertheless, the fact that Iraq continued to fire ballistic missiles throughout the Gulf war and still had a portion of its force following that war, despite what were, by all public accounts, the intensive efforts of coalition forces to find and destroy them, attests to the relative ease with which they could be concealed even in war. Special Commission inspection teams have found undeclared ballistic missile support equipment and noted Iraqi attempts to reuse previously destroyed missile transport vehicles.

21. The Special Commission is seeking further information, analysis of which may allow a more comprehensive understanding of this issue and increase confidence in any assessments which may emerge. At the present time, however, as pointed out in the first report, important questions still remain unresolved, namely, whether Iraq continues to have any ballistic missiles in its possession, and its plans and progress in future ballistic missile development. The two ballistic missile inspections which are being undertaken this month should shed additional light on these questions.

Administrative issues

22. The administrative issues outlined in paragraphs 25 to 31 of the first report remain unresolved, most particularly the issue of financing. The Special Commission is most grateful to record the receipt of additional voluntary contributions from Kuwait ($1,000,000) and Saudi Arabia ($1,730,000), which have enabled it to continue to function in the period under review. However, the shortage of readily available funds will become critical early next year, particularly if the Special Commission and IAEA are to proceed with the very costly removal of the spent irradiated fuel from Iraq.

Concluding observations

23. In the previous report, the full support of the Security Council, Governments, the Secretary-General and the Secretariat of the United Nations were identified as being of crucial importance in the carrying out of the mandate laid down in section C of Security Council resolution 687 (1991). This will certainly remain to be the case as the Special Commission and IAEA confront the difficult issues which will arise in connection with the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the facilities for their production and as the plans for ongoing monitoring and verification are put into full effect. Experience to date has shown that results can be achieved only where resolute stands are taken in response to challenges by Iraq to the implementation of various aspects of the mandate of the Special Commission and IAEA. Such resolute stands can be based only on the full support of the United Nations as a whole and its Member Governments in achieving all the basic objectives of section C of Security Council resolution 687 (1991).


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