Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, March 08, 2003

Britain Offers Amendment Giving Iraq Deadline to Disarm

Britain, in a bid to gain UN authorization for war on Iraq, offered an amended draft resolution Friday to the UN Security Council, which gives Iraq until March 17 to comply with its obligations to disarm.


Britain, in a bid to gain UN authorization for war on Iraq, offered an amended draft resolution Friday to the UN Security Council, which gives Iraq until March 17 to comply with its obligations to disarm.

The new draft was distributed to delegates at the end of a passionate speech by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at a ministerial council meeting.

"The United Kingdom understands the concern in the Council that our current draft could lead to immediate enforcement action," Straw told his council colleagues.

"We remain committed to exploring every reasonable option for a peaceful outcome, and every prospect of Council consensus," he said.

"I am therefore asking on behalf of the co-sponsors the Secretariat to circulate an amendment which will specify a further period beyond the adoption of a resolution for Iraq to take the final opportunity to disarm."

Straw also urged the council not to allow Saddam to "turn the final opportunity to disarm into endless opportunity for delay."

The original draft resolution, presented jointly by Britain, the United States and Spain late last month, indirectly authorized use of force against Iraq.

It declared that Iraq missed the final opportunity accorded by resolution 1441 and must face "serious consequences" -- a diplomatic language for war.

The resolution, supported only by Bulgaria, has been strongly opposed by France, Russia, Germany, China and Syria. It has also been unpopular with other council members.

In a bid to woo support from council members, the pro-war camp gives Iraq 10 more days to comply.

Iraq will have failed to take the final opportunity afforded by resolution 1441 "unless, on or before March 17, 2003, the council concludes that Iraq has demonstrated full, unconditional, immediate and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under resolution 1441 and previous relevant resolutions, and is yielding possession to UNMOVIC and the IAEA of all weapons, weapon delivery and support systems and structures, prohibited by resolution 687 and all subsequent relevant resolutions, and all information regarding prior destruction of such items," the new draft says.

Compared the two versions, there were almost no changes in the wording of the preamble section in the new draft.

Nevertheless, observers here doubt that such an ultimatum could be accepted by the pro-inspection camp led by France, Russia and Germany.

Addressing the council meeting earlier than his British counterpart, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin made clear that France "cannot accept an ultimatum as long as inspectors are reporting cooperation."

"That would mean war. It would lead the Security Council to relinquish its responsibilities," he said, asking: "By imposing a deadline of a few days, would we be reduced to seeking a pretext for war?"

Implicitly threatening to veto any plan calling for war, he said, "France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force."

Guinean Foreign Minister Francois Lonseny Fall, whose nation holds the rotating council presidency, told reporters that the Security Council will move into informal consultations on the new US-British draft late Friday.

Some council members wanted the council to vote on the new draft early next week, he said, adding the timing depends on the results of the closed-door meeting.

Questions?Comments? Click here

Britain Sees Iraq Report Confirmation of "Material Breach"

Britain, US to Give Saddam Ultimatum to Disarm: Report

>> Full Coverage


Interview: Why Does China Start Lunar Exploration Program? ( 5 Messages)

China-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Upgraded ( 19 Messages)

New Type of Nuclear Reactor Put into Use in Beijing ( 3 Messages)

Will Russian Oil Pipeline Lead to China or Japan? ( 23 Messages)

China's GDP Hit 1.23 Trillion US Dollars in 2002: NBS ( 4 Messages)

UAE Appeal on Saddam's Fate Draws Mixed Reactions ( 3 Messages)

Copyright by People's Daily Online, all rights reserved