Annan urges Saddam to comply as Turkey looks for more U.S. guarantees before troop deployment approval
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein Monday that continued defiance of U.N. demands to disarm could lead to war.
Annan, who met with European Union leaders at an emergency summit on the Iraqi crisis, said Saddam had to make a critical choice. "It is imperative that the Iraqi leadership understand the urgency and the gravity of the situation," Annan told reporters. "If they were to continue their defiance ... the members of the Security Council will have to make a grim choice: whether to declare material breach and the serious consequences that may follow. ...
"I urge the Iraqi leadership to choose compliance over conflict."
Annan urged the 15 EU leaders to put their divisions both internally and with the United States on Iraq behind them and arrive at a common position to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. "It is important that we focus on that first and avoid turning on each other," he said. "We want to keep the focus on Iraq and on this obligation to disarm ... proactively and immediately."
Annan also called on all members of the Security Council to come to a joint position to solve the crisis "successfully and effectively," adding that doing so would "significantly" enhance the U.N.'s credibility.
"What happens in Iraq will not happen in a vacuum," he said. "The broader the consensus the better the chances we can deal effectively with all the burning conflicts in the world."
Meanwhile, Turkey on Monday put off allowing U.S. troops to deploy in the country until bilateral talks on compensation are completed. The Turkish government had been expected to send a motion to parliament on Tuesday that would have provided authorization for the deployment.
According to UPI, diplomats in Ankara said the delay, declared by Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, was directed to change U.S. plans to open a northern front in any attack on Iraq.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, speaking on Turkish television, said that if Turkey did not permit deployment, U.S. warships waiting in the Mediterranean would be directed to the Persian Gulf.
Judging by what Turkish ministers said, a go-ahead needs parliamentary approval under the Turkish constitution. Also, the delay in completing an agreement was due to Ankara's desire to tie down Washington's guarantees.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin told reporters Turkey remembered past experiences and does not want them repeated, referring to promises at the time of the 1991 Gulf War that were not kept. A new list of Ankara's economic and military requirements was conveyed to Washington Monday, Sahin said.
Yakis said Monday Turkey has military and economic concerns that had to be addressed in order to convince the Turkish parliament to approve deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil. Also Babacan said Monday that Turkey wanted "a clear, open precise document" addressing its requirements. (Albawaba.com)
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