[shniad at sfu.ca: [R-G] France to mobilize E.U. members against early war in Iraq]
ehrbar at econ.utah.edu
Tue Jan 21 17:19:39 MST 2003
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New York Times January 21, 2003
France to mobilize E.U. members against early war in Iraq
Brussels (Reuters) - France said today that it would seek a united stance
against early military action in Iraq at a meeting of European Union nations
Rejecting mounting U.S. pressure, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin
said: It is important that Europe speak on this issue with a single voice.
We are mobilized, we believe war can be avoided.
He told reporters after talks with his Belgian counterpart, Louis Michel,
that a January 27 report to the U.N. Security Council by arms inspectors
seeking to eliminate Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction would only
be an interim report.
France is chairing the Security Council this month.
We see no justification today for an intervention, since the inspectors are
able to do their work. We could not support unilateral action, de Villepin
He said he would use a meeting of the 15 EU foreign ministers in Brussels
next Monday and Tuesday to seek a united stance on the issue.
EU diplomats say most member states are apprehensive about a possible
conflict and fear the timetable is being driven not by Iraqi behavior but by
the best weather conditions for a U.S. military strike.
Britain, the other EU member with a permanent Security Council seat,
announced Monday it was sending a larger than expected 26,000 troops to the
Gulf in preparation for possible action against Iraq.
France and Germany have said any military action would require a second U.N.
resolution authorizing the use of force, whereas Washington and London,
while not ruling out a new vote, say they already have sufficient legal
The United States and Britain have both said time is running out for Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.
Belgium's Michel said he was on the same wavelength as de Villepin.
We really think there is a diplomatic, political space to be exploited, and
that perhaps the European Union could play that role, he said.
De Villepin spoke out against a rush to war in a Security Council debate
Monday, backed by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who warned of
unpredictable consequences for the fight against terrorism.
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