British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw cautioned France on Thursday of the consequences of its stance that forced Washington and London to launch war against Iraq without international support.
France, which bitterly opposed to the US military action in Iraq together with Germany and Russia, threatened to veto any UN resolution authorizing military action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, before the war started on March 20.
"I have not blamed France for military action. I did however criticize France for what I thought was a lack of constructive approach to the implementation of the resolution 1441," Straw told the BBC.
"I do believe that if we had been able to come together in January and February and had a really tough ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, if we'd got France and Russia on board then I think the war may well have been avoided," said Straw, whose country has committed about 45,000 troops to the Gulf for the Iraq war.
"You can do that when it comes to culture, music and art and things like that and quite right too because France has a huge contribution in those fields. You cannot do that in terms of military matters or diplomacy because the power is so uneven," Straw said.
Speaking in a special edition of BBC News Interactive's phone-in program, Straw also noted that many people in the United States found the position of some European countries on the war in Iraq "inexplicable", admitting that there was a difference between current US relations with France.
"Both sides are committed to good relations but there is also this sense that some French politicians want to set France up as a separate pole to create a bipolar world," Straw added.
That could cause greater instability in the world, he said," It is very important that we both recognize the consequences of our actions."
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that France would face unspecified consequences for its opposition to the US-led war.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a staunch US ally in its war with Iraq, has insisted that a world where Europe and America are at odds was a dangerous one.
During the interview that was expected to be broadcast Sunday, Straw also dismissed suggestions that coalition forces would "plant" weapons of mass destruction to justify the war in Iraq.
"Now, they won't be planted. We are going to immense care to ensure the veracity of the finds and why the devil would we plant any of this, " Straw said, admitting that physical proof of unaccounted for banned weapons would make it easier to justify war.
US-led forces launched military attack against Iraq on the basis that Baghdad has been hiding its banned arms from UN inspectors, but Iraq denied having any.
More than two weeks after the fall of Baghdad to US marines, no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have yet been found by coalition forces.