U.N. Security Council Unanimously Adopts Iraq Resolution
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who sought consensus in the last few weeks among Security Council members, said the road ahead would be difficult and dangerous.
“Iraq has a new opportunity to comply with all these relevant resolutions of the Security Council. I urge the Iraqi leadership for sake of its own people … to seize this opportunity and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people,” Annan said.
The resolution, drafted by the United States and co-sponsored by Britain, passed after eight weeks of negotiations. The final language was changed slightly to appease Russia and France, two of the Security Council permanent members with veto power who had opposed any language they thought could trigger automatic military action against Iraq.
Speaking from the White House moments after the U.N. vote, President Bush said Iraq still faces “the severest consequences” if it fails to heed the call to disarm.
The president warned Iraq that the “game of cheat and retreat will no longer be tolerated,” and declared that any delay by Iraq would send a “clear signal” that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein does not intend to comply.
The resolution gives unrestricted access to all locations, including eight presidential palaces that were previously off-limits.
Iraq has seven days to accept the resolution’s terms and 30 days to declare all of its chemical, biological and nuclear programs.
U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said an advance team of inspectors will be on the ground within 10 days; it would be the first time U.N. inspectors have entered the country since 1998. Inspectors must report to the Security Council 60 days after inspections begin.
Even Syria, which had signaled it would abstain, voted in favor of the resolution. Arab countries had wanted to include greater incentives for disarmament and a declaration of the whole region a nuclear-free zone, a move that would have included Israel’s nuclear weapons program.