British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that he would be willing to go to war against Iraq if the US-British draft resolution is vetoed at the UN Security Council.
In a studio debate for the MTV television channel that will be televised Friday, Blair said: "If there was a veto applied by one of the countries with a veto or by countries that I thought were applying the veto unreasonably ,then in those circumstances I would (go to war without a fresh UN mandate)."
"But we are fighting very hard to get a second resolution through and I still believe we will get that second resolution. I don't want to go outside of the UN," he added.
Blair's official spokesman also said later Thursday that nothing has changed, emphasizing that Blair was not signaling any change in his belief that the second UN resolution is going to be upheld.
Britain, with the support of the United States and Spain, tabled a draft UN resolution on Iraq to all the Security Council members on Feb. 24, declaring that Iraq was not complying with UN resolutions and would face "serious consequences."
The Anglo-American efforts to secure a UN mandate to authorize war with Iraq suffered a blow Wednesday when France, Russia and Germany reaffirmed that they would not allow a draft resolution onIraq to be adopted by the UN Security Council.
Britain, the staunchest US ally on disarming Iraq by force if necessary, is expected to table an amendment to the draft resolution after chief UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix presents an inspection report to the Security Council on Friday.
The compromise proposal would allow Iraq a little more time to disarm, local reports said. But the penalty for failure on the part of Baghdad would be military intervention.
Blair will face massive opposition at home if he joins the US-led military action against Iraq without UN approval.
A recent MTV poll of 80,000 viewers worldwide showed that 83 percent of the interviewed would not support an attack without UN mandate.