Tuesday 25 February 2003
NEW YORK -- France, Germany and Russia on Monday presented a joint proposal to the United Nations Security Council calling for stepping up U.N. arms weapons inspections in Iraq and extending weapons inspections for four months.
French President Jacques Chirac announced the plan at a news conference in Berlin early Monday following a meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder held amid increasing pressure from United States to declare Iraq in breach of its U.N.-mandated disarmament obligations.
The U.S., Britain and Spain also submitted a separate resolution to the Security Council on Monday declaring Iraq in breach of U.N. resolution 1441.
Adopted unanimously by the Security Council on Nov 8, Resolution 1441 gives Iraq a "final opportunity" to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction or face "serious consequences."
Chirac declined to give details of the joint resolution to be presented by France, Germany and Russia, saying merely that the resolution would set a deadline for Iraq to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.
Chirac indicated that France and Germany would oppose the U.S.-proposed resolution, saying the U.S. move would not change the two countries' stand to resolve the Iraq crisis without going to war.
Speaking at the same news conference, Schroeder said France and Germany believe that it is still possible to disarm Iraq peacefully.
The U.S., Britain, France and Russia -- along with China -- are permanent Security Council members with veto power. Germany and Spain currently hold non-permanent Security Council seats.
A U.N. Security Council resolution must be approved by nine of the 15 Security Council member countries, without the objection of any of the five permanent council members. (Kyodo News)
France, Germany and Russia Launch New Anti-War Initiative Over Iraq
CBC News Canada
Monday 24 February 2003
BERLIN (AP) - French President Jacques Chirac announced that France, Germany and Russia have submitted a proposal Monday in the United Nations for step-by-step disarmament of Iraq, part of a European drive to counter U.S. pressure for military action.
"The aim is to establish a timetable for Iraq's disarmament, program by program, relating to weapons of mass destruction," Chirac told reporters before talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. "In this context, we see no reason to change our logic, which is the logic of peace, and turn toward a logic of war," Chirac said.
Both leaders said peaceful disarmament had not been exhausted fully and that Iraq must be pressed to co-operate.
"Iraq must disarm, must destroy its weapons of mass destruction." Chirac said. "This goal can be achieved peacefully, through inspections."
He noted that the UN Security Council already has passed a resolution demanding Iraq's disarmament, making another resolution unnecessary.
"You will understand that in this context we are not in favour of a new resolution," Chirac said.
Schroeder said earlier Monday he still believes no new resolution is necessary "at this time," because the current Resolution 1441 on Iraq offers "enough possibilities" to strengthen weapons inspections.
The leaders did not elaborate on the new proposal.
Over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Paris wants to step up the pressure by proposing a schedule for Iraq to follow through on disarmament demands. He said France would submit the plan as a memorandum to the Security Council.
Meanwhile, the United States and Britain planned to introduce a resolution Monday declaring Iraq in violation of obligations to disarm, UN diplomats said.
Schroeder, Chirac and their foreign ministers were meeting for dinner Monday in a Berlin restaurant reputed to be the capital's oldest - and where lore has it that Napoleon once stopped.
In a divided Europe, France and Germany - which currently chairs the Security Council - are the key powers resisting the rush to war. Both are urging more time for strengthened UN weapons inspections.
The United States and Britain were introducing a resolution to the Security Council on Monday declaring Iraq in further violation of UN orders to disarm and warning of "serious consequences," UN diplomats said.
The resolution would declare Iraq in "further material breach" of UN resolutions ordering its disarmament and will likely refer to "serious consequences" but not to using "all necessary means," the diplomats said.
Washington and London believe such a declaration would be enough to pave the way for military action against Iraq.
The two countries need support from at least nine of the 15 council members to win approval for a resolution, providing France, Russia or China do not cast a veto. Britain and the United States also have veto power.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the Security Council would vote on the resolution by mid-March.
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix also increased pressure on Iraq over the weekend, ordering Baghdad to begin destroying all of its Al Samoud 2 missiles, and the engines and components for them, by Saturday.
If Iraq starts destroying its Al Samoud 2 missile program by the end of the week, as the United Nations has ordered, "it will be a positive step," de Villepin told the newspaper Le Figaro. Iraq has withheld a decision so far.
Saturday is also the deadline for Blix's quarterly report to the Security Council on Iraq's co-operation and the status of weapons inspections, which resumed in early November after four years.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)