Skip to comments.Russia, China Call for Iraq to Disarm
Posted on 03/03/2003 10:52:49 AM PST by LurkedLongEnough
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- France, Russia and China called Monday for Iraq to comply fully with the demands of U.N. weapons inspectors and disarm peacefully, while the United States and Britain sought support for a U.N. resolution to wage war against Baghdad.
The five veto-holding powers on the Security Council are so divided over the resolution that there's no talk of compromise, just intensive lobbying by the rival camps ahead of a vote that Washington and London have said they want in mid-March.
French President Jacques Chirac, whose country has led the opposition to a rush to war, said inspectors must have the time needed to get rid of Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and long-range missile programs.
"But Iraq must cooperate more, more actively," he said during a visit to Algeria. "Together and in peace, we must keep strong pressure on it to attain the objective we have set: the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said Monday that Iraq's destruction of some of its Al Samoud 2 missiles were "a graphic example of Iraq's more active cooperation."
He called a 13-page report to the council Friday by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix a "balanced document" that confirms progress in disarming Iraq, and he urged Baghdad to cooperate "more actively," according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
China's foreign ministry stressed Monday that "China has been making the utmost effort to avoid war," according to the official Xinhua news agency.
But at the same time, foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said Sunday that "Iraq should implement the U.N. resolutions strictly, fully and conscientiously. It should not possess weapons of mass destruction."
On the opposing side, the United States and Britain insist that Iraq has squandered its last chance to disarm peacefully.
"Iraq is not cooperating. ... They continue to fundamentally not disarm," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Monday.
In Stockholm, former chief inspector Rolf Ekeus said the current inspectors have put too much emphasis on the country's older weapons program instead of more recent developments from 1998 to 2002 "when there were no weapons inspectors in the country."
While the United States continues its military build-up in the Persian Gulf, the Bush administration is also continuing preparations for a post-war Iraq.
Ret. Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, head of a Pentagon-based office to assess Iraq's resources and be ready to help it rebuild, met U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette on Monday with his team of U.S. humanitarian and reconstruction experts.
Frechette has been coordinating U.N. efforts to plan for humanitarian and reconstruction problems in event of a war.
With the clock ticking toward a vote, many of the nonpermanent Security Council members want supporters and opponents of military action to compromise.
Chile last week urged the five permanent members to reach an agreement on Iraq, saying it was wrong to leave the decision to the 10 council members elected who serve two-year terms.
"Chile does not want war," Chilean President Ricardo Lagos said Monday. "But we want that, within a brief and clearly set deadline, Iraq destroy its arms of mass destruction as demanded by the United Nations, as demanded by the world."
But the United States sees no reason to compromise, diplomats said.
President Bush believes that previous U.N. resolutions already give the United States authority to attack Iraq. Diplomats said Washington is only interested in authorization for a new war and won't back down on the resolution, saying the president is prepared to fight with a coalition of willing nations.
The United States still doesn't have the nine "yes" votes needed to adopt the resolution, according to supporters and opponents of the measure. And even if it gets the nine votes, France and Russia have not ruled out using their vetoes. China is considered unlikely to veto the resolution though it could abstain.
On the other side, France, Russia and Germany also refuse to talk about a compromise - only about new efforts to strengthen weapons inspections and thwart a war.
The only compromise has been circulated to council members by Canada, which suggested that Iraq be given until the end of March to complete a list of key remaining disarmament tasks identified by the inspectors. The council would then be asked to vote on whether Iraq was complying with its U.N. obligations, diplomats said.
Both sides have poked holes in the Canadian compromise, but Chile, Mexico and Pakistan have agreed to meet this week to discuss it.
What a moron. He thinks "strong pressure" is maintained by much talk and lots of paperwork.. My question is "Why aren't the French participating in the 'strong pressure?'"
Pressure is applied by a credible threat of war. Chirac is working to reduce pressure on Saddam. What a dunce.