U.S., U.K. Propose New U.N. Resolution, Warn of Possible War
The twelve-paragraph resolution read in part, ”In its resolution 1441 (2002), the [U.N. Security] Council recalled that it has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations.”
“Acting under… the charter of the United Nations, [the council] decides that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded it…”
The resolution set no deadline nor listed any specific military or diplomatic measures for Iraq’s failure to comply.
The U.S. and Britain called on the 15-member council to vote on the proposal by March 15. The resolution faces an uphill fight as France, Russia and China have all expressed opposition to second resolution.
Ahead of the resolution’s release, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the document’s key point was “that the Iraqi regime has failed to take its final opportunity to comply with the United Nations Security Council” afforded to it by resolution 1441.
British U.N. Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock introduced the resolution, which was cosponsored by the U.S. and Spain.
Despite the lack of a direct call for military action against Baghdad, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush has “very little hope left” that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will comply with U.N. directives and avert military action.
“In the case of Iraq, the president has very little hope left that Saddam Hussein will respond to diplomacy,” Fleischer told reporters.
To counter the move, France, Germany and Russia submitted a proposal in the U.N. Monday to create a step-by-step plan to disarm Iraq.
“The aim is to establish a timetable for Iraq’s disarmament, program by program, relating to weapons of mass destruction,” French President Jacques Chirac told reporters before talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Chirac also reiterated France and Germany’s opposition to the resolution put forward by Greenstock.
“We see nothing in the current situation which justifies a new resolution,” Chirac said.
The moves at the Security Council came as Saddam Hussein weighed how to respond to U.N. weapons inspectors’ demands he destroy a short-range missile found to be in violation of past agreements.
Hans Blix, the head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, rejected Iraqi calls for more time to hold technical discussions over the fate of the Al-Samoud 2 missile program, saying the Iraqi regime had until Saturday to begin dismantling the system.
“We have set a date for the commencement of the destruction of these missiles and we expect that to be respected,” Blix told reporters.
The deadline coincides with Blix’s next report to the Security Council regarding Iraqi compliance with U.N. inspections.
Blix ordered the destruction of the missiles, their warheads, engines, launchers, guidance and control systems and other components after he concluded the system exceeded the 150-kilometer range set for Iraqi rockets by a Security Council resolution.
Iraq said it was considering how to respond to Blix’s letter but would not have an announcement until at least Tuesday.
“We are carefully studying the letter and we are not going to rush our response,” Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri told Reuters.