Photo of Mr Llew Smith

Mr Llew Smith (Blaenau Gwent, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the areas where the Government has identified an inaccurate or false declaration by the former Iraqi Government in the declaration on its proscribed weapons of mass destruction programmes submitted to the United Nations Security Council on 7 December 2002, specifying the page number in each case.

Photo of Mr Denis MacShane

Mr Denis MacShane (Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Rotherham, Labour)

A careful examination of Iraq's declaration was undertaken in December 2002 and January 2003 and its contents were compared with the outstanding disarmament issues reported by UNSCOM upon their withdrawal from Iraq and against intelligence assessments available at the time. The results of this examination showed that there was no new information contained in the declaration, and that it therefore failed to address any of the outstanding issues. This failure was borne out by subsequent discoveries by UNMOVIC inspection teams in early 2003, and later by the Iraq Survey Group.

The Iraqi Declaration itself remains a document confidential to the United Nations Security Council. It would not, therefore, be appropriate to go into the detail of the specific contents of any part of the declaration. Huge quantities of documents remain to be translated.

Annotations

Julian Todd
Posted on 30 Mar 2005 6:40 pm (Report this annotation)

er, what discoveries?

Tim Lopakhin
Posted on 10 Nov 2006 4:44 pm (Report this annotation)

Maybe the discovery that he was making missiles which could fire beyond the permitted distance. That's about all they found really.

Zlatko Beretovac
Posted on 28 Jan 2009 7:01 am (Report this annotation)

UNMOVIC was invited by Iraq (approving of UNSCR 1441) to examine sites where WMD development was suspected and they discovered noi evidence of any installations or activities. They did, however, find 18 122mm chemical rockets, which were destroyed. The Iraqi government itself found more of these and destroyed them. Al-Samoud II and Al-Fatah missiles were also found to violate the 150km range restrictions.

Hans Blix states that "in the fields of missiles and biotechnology, the declaration contains a good deal of new material and information covering the period from 1998 and onward." However, the "open disarmament issues" mentioned in UNMOVIC findings (document 9994 and the Amorim report) were not addressed.

While failing to discover any evidence of WMD activity, UNMOVIC found a serious discrepancy between Iraq's report and previous statements on its production of biological weapons prior to 1991 and called for further inspections. Much of this has to do with Iraq's unilateral destruction of stockpiles, without any supporting documentation.

The Iraq Survey Group concluded that all WMDs found were degraded remnants (e.g. mustard gas shells used unwittingly in roadside IEDs) and that Iraq's main violation was the maintenance of technical documents for the resurrection of a weapons program after the lifting of sanctions.

In this case, absence of evidence was, but was not taken as, evidence of absence, no doubt because the US was using this as a pretext to an invasion long desired by the neocons. According to one of the inspectors (Scott Ritter) "by the end of 1998, Iraq had, in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history." If we are to believe him, that was in fact the balance of evidence, even taking into account the problems with chemical and biological agents (see his "The Case for Iraq's Qualitative Disarmament," June 2002, Arms Control Association website).

I hope that's of some use.

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