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Monday, February 23, 1998 Published at 21:22 GMT




Clinton cool on Iraq deal
image: [ President Clinton has, as yet, refused to give his approval to the peace deal ]
President Clinton has, as yet, refused to give his approval to the peace deal

US President Bill Clinton has warned that there will be serious consequences if it fails to comply with the agreement to end the weapons inspection crisis reached by the UN Secretary General and Iraq's leadership.

In his first statement since UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced his deal with Baghdad, Mr Clinton said the United States is ready to secure by whatever means necessary Iraq's full compliance with its commitment to destroy its weapons of mass destruction.


President Clinton gives a cautious response to the deal (32")
" If Iraq fails to comply this time to provide immediate, unrestricted, unconditional access to the weapons inspectors, there will be serious consequences." he said.

Mr Clinton said that the accord provided for immediate access to all suspect weapons sites - including the eight controversial presidential sites. The UN weapons inspector team (Unscom) together with senior diplomats appointed by Mr Annan are now guaranteed unrestricted and unlimited access, he said.

But Mr Clinton warned that the proof would be in the testing.

"What really matters is Iraq's compliance, not its stated commitments; not what Iraq says but what it does. In the days and weeks ahead, Unscom must test and verify."

Mr Clinton also said that he will leave troops in the Gulf. Soldiers, ships and planes will stay in force until the United States is satisfied that Iraq is fulfilling its commitments.

If Unscom is allowed to "inspect where and when they want", he said, it is the United States' most effective tool to ensure that Iraq does not build up its military arsenal.








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