CBSN

Iraq Refuses U.N. Demands

The U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded Thursday that Iraq resume cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors immediately. Baghdad has already announced it won't comply.

The Security Council made no explicit threats to use force if Iraq doesn't obey, but the United States and Britain say they already have authorization to take military action from previous council resolutions.

The resolution didn't include a timetable for lifting crippling economic sanctions, which Iraq has demanded as the price for reversing its decision to cut all dealings with the inspectors.

The resolution puts into international law the council's statement Saturday that condemned Iraq's decision to halt cooperation with inspectors as a "flagrant violation" of U.N. demands.

But council members reaffirmed their readiness to hold "a comprehensive review" of Iraq's compliance with U.N. resolutions, which could lead to the lifting of the oil embargo if U.N. inspectors declare Iraq has disarmed. But this offer is contingent on Iraq resuming cooperation with weapons inspectors.

The council agreed to conduct the review in September, in an attempt to get Baghdad to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to resume spot inspections, which it banned on Aug. 5.

But Iraq reacted angrily when the council sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last Friday with the broad outlines of a review that didn't explicitly mention the possibility of easing or lifting sanctions.

Blaming the Americans for cutting all references to ending sanctions, Baghdad on Saturday banned inspectors from monitoring previously searched facilities leaving them with little to do but change film and videocassettes on stationary cameras.

Iraq said Thursday it would reject any Security Council resolution, unless it calls for the end of sanctions, imposed after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

"Iraq's response is that it will not deal positively with the members of the council unless there is a clear stand that the sanctions on Iraq will be lifted,"Iraq's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, told Associated Press Television News at the Baghdad International Fair.

Ramadan's remarks echoed a front-page editorial in the ruling Baath party newspaper al-Thawra, which said Iraq would not abide by any measure without an explicit timetable for lifting economic sanctions. Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, whose country has been sympathetic to Iraq's demand for an end to sanctions, said: "The way out of the crisis, the only way, is for Iraq to rescind."

He said the resolution had two goals: to reiterate the council's universal view that Iraq's decision was unacceptable, and reiterate the council's "willingness and readiness" to conduct a comprehensive review of Iraq's compliance with U.N. resolutions that could allow for the lifting of sanctions.

Lavrov has noted that the resolution by no means gives the United States or anyone else a gren light for military action. Russia, traditionally more sympathetic to Baghdad, has opposed using force.

By Edith M. Lederer