Washington, 13 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. President Bill Clinton says Iraq is defying the international community by its decision to expel the American members of United Nations weapons inspection teams.
Clinton said at the White House today that Iraq's decision is unacceptable and a challenge to the UN. He says he will pursue the issue in what he called a very determined way but offered no specifics on what the U.S. might do in response.
Iraq acted a day after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Iraq for failing to cooperate with UN inspectors. The resolution also demands an immediate and unconditional reversal of Iraq's original order expelling the Americans, and it also banned foreign travel for Iraqi officials who interfere with the inspections.
Clinton said the UN made it clear that Iraq must comply with UN resolutions. He said that over the last six years, inspectors have been responsible for the destruction of more weapons in Iraq than were destroyed in the entire Gulf War.
At the UN, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the entire UN weapons inspection team may be withdrawn from Iraq.