After meeting Blair, Chirac still opposes military action against Iraq
London and Paris continue to have "different approaches" on the strategy for disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction, French President Jacques Chirac acknowledged Tuesday. The French leader, however, added that despite these differences, both agreed Iraq should be disarmed through the U.N. Security Council.
"As far as Iraq is concerned, we have different approaches but first and foremost we have two convictions which are fundamental and are shared," Chirac told a news conference following talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"The first is that we have to disarm Iraq, and the second conviction that we share is that this has to be undertaken within the Security Council of the United Nations. Regarding that, we are entirely in agreement," he said.
Chirac said he remained steadfastly opposed to war against Baghdad without giving UN weapons inspectors searching for banned weapons as much time they need to do their work. When asked how much time – weeks or months – weapons inspectors should have, the French President responded: "I can't put a timeframe on it. It's up to them to decide," he said.
On his part, Blair said: "Of course there are the differences that are familiar to people. "But it is important to emphasise again the two common points that the President alluded to: support for the notion of disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and the belief that this is best pursued through the United Nations.
"As the President indicated of course we have the presentation that will be made by Colin Powell tomorrow.
"We have then the report of Dr Blix, the chief inspector, on the 14 February. We will make our judgments then." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)