Deep rifts have emerged among key members of the United
Nations Security Council over the possible US action against Iraq. In the
special ministerial meeting of the Council in New York last night, US Secretary
of the State Colin Powell called on member states to act responsibly if Iraq
fails to comply with UN resolutions. (Getty Images)...
Deep Rifts Among Key Members Of The UNSC
Updated on 2003-01-21 12:11:57
New York, United States: Jan 21 (PNS)
Deep rifts have emerged among key members of the United Nations Security
Council over the possible US action against Iraq.
In the special ministerial meeting of the Council in New
York last night, US Secretary of the State Colin Powell called on member
states to act responsibly if Iraq fails to comply with UN resolutions. He
said we must not shrink from the need to adopt a difficult path against
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said time is almost
running out for Iraq and we are now near to act against it.
However, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said his
country can not support military action against Iraq because it will bring
French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin said there
is no justification of early war against Iraq.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said work of UN
weapons inspectors is proceeding well and their report which is due on the
27th of this month will be a new beginning of the process.
Powell Urges U.N. to Stand Up to
The Associated Press
Tue 21 Jan 2003
UNITED NATIONS (AP)
Secretary of State Colin Powell, faced with stiff
resistance and calls to go slow, bluntly told other nations on Monday that
the United Nations ``must not shrink'' from its responsibility to disarm
Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
``We cannot be shocked into impotence because we're afraid of the
difficult choices ahead of us,'' Powell told members of the U.N. Security
Directly responding to qualms registered by several foreign ministers in
two days of talks, and with only Britain explicitly standing alongside the
United States, Powell spoke of war as a real option.
Germany's foreign minister took a strong stand against military action,
saying it might have ``negative repercussions'' for the international
fight against terrorism. His French counterpart called war ``a dead end.''
Powell, speaking at a U.N. conference on terrorism and at a news
conference, urged reluctant nations to focus on Baghdad's failure to
disarm and to prepare to weigh the consequences by the end of the month
when U.N. inspectors file a report on 60 days of searches in Iraq for
``If Iraq is not disarming, the United Nations cannot turn away from its
responsibilities,'' Powell said.
He said the U.N. Security Council, which is due to consider the report on
Jan. 29, must come to grips with a regime that he said has acquired,
developed and stocked weapons of mass destruction and trampled human
rights at home.
``So no matter how difficult the road ahead may be with respect to Iraq,
we must not shrink from a need to travel down that road,'' Powell said.
``Hopefully, there will be a peaceful solution,'' he said. ``But if Iraq
does not come into full compliance, we must not shrink from the
responsibilities that we set before ourselves'' when the Security Council
called for the disarmament of Iraq.
Casting aside diplomatic ambiguity, Powell spoke directly of war. ``Iraq
has a responsibility now to avoid a conflict, to avoid a war,'' he said.
The U.N. inspectors, by contrast, have said they were making progress in
their searches, may require months more of time, and have referred to the
report due next Monday as only an interim report. Some 16 chemical weapons
warheads have been divulged by Iraq, a move taken by the inspectors as a
sign of cooperation.
But Powell brushed that aside. He said of the Iraqis: ``We cannot let them
dribble out this information, dribble these warheads out.''
Iraq knows how many weapons of mass destruction it has hidden away, Powell
said, ``We will not allow Iraq to frustrate the will of the world.''
Separately, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld dismissed suggestions
that U.N. weapons inspectors would need months of additional time to
determine whether Iraq is meeting its obligation to disarm.
``The burden of proof is on Iraq to prove that it is disarming,'' Rumsfeld
said in a speech to a Reserve Officers Association conference. ``Thus far
they have been unwilling to do so.''
British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, in his U.N. speech, said it was
important to ``wait and see what the inspectors actually say,'' but he
emphasized that ``time is running out for Saddam Hussein.''
``This game of hide-and-seek has got to stop and there's got to be
complete, active, positive compliance by Iraq with the obligations imposed
on Iraq by this Security Council,'' he said. Straw spoke as Britain
announced it was sending 26,000 troops to the Persian Gulf in preparation
for possible military action against Iraq.
Other Europeans said they had yet to be convinced war would not make
``We have no illusions about the brutal nature of Saddam Hussein's
regime,'' German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher said during a daylong
Security Council meeting on counterterrorism. But, he said: ``We are
greatly concerned that a military strike against the regime in Baghdad
would involve considerable and unpredictable risks for the global fight on
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said he believed Iraq could
still be disarmed through peaceful means. ``We believe that today, nothing
justifies envisaging military action .... As long as you can make progress
with the inspectors and get cooperation, there's no point in choosing the
worst possible solution - military intervention.''
Resolution 1441, crafted by Washington and London and passed by a
unanimous Security Council in November, warns Iraq of ``serious
consequences,'' if it fails to comply with inspections.
In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Monday dismissed
reports that Iraq was now encouraging Iraqi scientists to take part in
interviews with U.N. inspectors. ``We're only interested in action after
11 and 12 years of watching Saddam Hussein give his word and not keeping
it,'' Fleischer said.
``Everyone stressed the importance of disarmament and the hope that Iraq
gets the message,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said after
Powell met with Foreign Ministers de Villepin, Tang Jiaxuan of China and
Luis Ernesto Derbez of Mexico.
But Tang of China pressed a go-slow approach, telling reporters Monday
that the Jan. 27 report ``is not a full stop of the inspection work but a
``There's more work to do in terms of the inspection and it will take some
time,'' Tang said, adding that the inspectors' work is ``proceeding
And Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, referring to President Bush
reserving the option to use force without U.N. consent, said ``we must be
careful not to take unilateral action.''
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