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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Open debate of the Security Council on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait

Open debate of the Security Council on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait on 19 February 2003

Statement by H.E. Mr. Thorsteinn Ingólfsson Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations

Mr. President,

Allow me to add the voice of the Government of Iceland to this important debate. The Security Council is now faced with one of its greatest challengces in modern times. Can it cope with its fundamental objective, which is to maintain international peace and security? The hopes are high among Member States of the United Nations. During the last few months the Security Council has demonstrated resolve and unity in addressing the serious threat to international peace deriving from the failure by Iraq to respect its obligations under Article 25 of the Charter "to agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Council".

The Council has unanimously by resolution 1441 given Iraq an ultimatum and a final opportunity to comply with the demands of the Council. They are the full and effective disarmament of Iraq in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council stretching back to 1991. Baghdad should not be in any doubt of what is required of it.

By "the immediate, active and unconditional co-operation" Iraq has the opportunity, and indeed an obligation, to provide for the easing of the grave situation the international community is now faced with. There is still time for a peaceful solution of this crisis and it is our sincere hope that it can be accomplished without the use of force.

UNMOVIC and IAEA have our full support, and we commend the able leadership of Drs. Blix and El Baradei. We do not believe, however, that strengthened inspection regime will neccessarily provide us with the answers which have for so long been awaited from the Iraqi authorities. What is lacking is that Iraq demonstrate full co-operation and provides all the required information without further delay.

Dr. Blix has stated that "the period of disarmament through inspection could be short" if Iraq choses to co-operate fully as required by the Security Council. To this end, the inspectors should be given more time.

Firm pressure must be maintained. However, the apparent lack of unity of the international community on the ways to proceed has been of some concern. It is of utmost importance that unanimous decisions by the Security Council be respected and that Member States be prepared to enforce them.

The threat of "serious consequensces" as stipulated in Resolution 1441 must not be compromised . The credibility of the Council and the United Nations is here at stake.

The use of force must always be the last resort for the Security Council. If, however, other measures provided to it by the Charter "have proved to be inadequate" it must face its responsibility.

Thank you Mr. President


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