Blix in Vienna 2002. Photo by Dean Calma, IAEA
|1st Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission|
1 March 2000 â€“ 30 June 2003
|Succeeded by||Dimitris Perrikos|
|3rd Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency|
1981 â€“ 1 December 1997
|Preceded by||Sigvard Eklund|
|Succeeded by||Mohamed ElBaradei|
|Minister for Foreign Affairs|
18 October 1978 â€“ 12 October 1979
|Preceded by||Karin SÃ¶der|
|Succeeded by||Ola Ullsten|
|Born||Hans Martin Blix
28 June 1928
They have been saying for a long time that Iraq made an effort to import active uranium, and my colleague demonstrated the other day that they came to the conclusion that it was a fake document that everybody is relying upon.
I don't think that anyone seriously fears that the world can be blown to pieces all together. But what one can fear and rightly so are regional things, like in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, the Korean Peninsula, borders in Africa, etc.
It was to do with information management. The intention was to dramatise it.
If you take the biological weapons in the United States we still will have perhaps a single individual who was able to make anthrax, dry it, and spread it through the mail and cause terror.
Now the idea about taking people abroad is that if they come over to Cyprus, which we have in mind, and bring their families and would have the possibility to defect after they would be ready to speak their mind, well I hope so.
Like I said, I'm more worried long term about the environmental issues then the use of arms.
I think that we have to do our job well, investigate thoroughly and then describe very honestly what we see to the Security Council. And some of the things might please people there and other things may not please the people.
Look at the Palestinians with the huge, huge percentage of unemployed. What does that breed? Anyone who's unemployed in the world, you feel there's no meaning and there's a risk that you drift over to something desperate. Yes, we have to tackle the social problems as well.
So interviews are a valuable tool, but under certain circumstances they'd be more valuable than others.
Even on television, the wavelengths that you use, they have to be distributed between countries.
The South Africans decided that they would like to prove to the world they did not have any nuclear weapons and their decision was not doubted because it was the end of the Cold War, it was also the end of apartheid.
I can imagine that the Iraqis undertake the destruction out of fear. If they had denied it, if they had said no, that certainly would have played into the hands of those that would like to take armed action immediately. I have no illusions in that regard.
The country is not a democratic state. Therefore we fear that they might carry a recorder in their pocket or there may be bugs in the walls, and you cannot be absolutely sure that you get a straight testimony.
What surprises me, what amazes me, is that it seems the military people were expecting to stumble on large quantities of gas, chemical weapons and biological weapons.
I also hear your president say that war is the means of last resort and I think he means that. I met him last autumn and he assured me that they wanted to come through and disarm Iraq by peaceful means, and that's what we are trying to do as hard as we can.
But I would say if the Security Council is only relevant if it agrees with the United States, then we have come a long way in a direction that I do not like very much.
I found it peculiar that those who wanted to take military action could – with 100 per cent certainty – know that the weapons existed and turn out to have zero knowledge of where they were.
The inspections started in 1991, right after the Gulf War. One of the conditions for the ceasefire was that Iraq had to do away with all of its weapons of mass destruction – biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
You never get quite down to the bottom of the barrel, but we are much higher than that at the present time. There is quite a lot left in the barrel that could be explained by them. If they have some weapons, if they have some anthrax, they should deliver that.
Iraq did not spontaneously opt for disarmament. They did it as part of a ceasefire, so they were forced to do it, otherwise the war might have gone on. So the motivation has been very different.
The Iraqis are not threatened by the Turks or by the Iranians or by the Saudis and they tell me that these are not weapons of mass destruction, they are weapons of self-destruction.
On big issues like war in Iraq, but in many other issues they simply must be multilateral. There's no other way around. You have the instances like the global warming convention, the Kyoto protocol, when the U.S. went its own way.
If public opinion still endorses military action that's one thing, but if they wait maybe it will not. So it's not only impatience, but there are several other factors.