Britain says Iraq war avoidable; Australia plans to send forces to Gulf region
Britain on Friday assured said it would revert to the U.N. Security Council if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was found in breach of a resolution to give up weapons of mass destruction.
"We want to see the issue of Iraq resolved peacefully," Straw told a news conference after meeting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and other senior ministers. But, he said it was up to the Iraqi leader to comply if war was to be avoided.
"None of us can look into the mind of Saddam Hussein and make predictions about the future. Whether this disarmament takes place peacefully, the choice is his," the British minister stated.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, has given the nod for the deployment of Australian forces in a US-led war on Iraq.
While stressing that he still believed war could be avoided, Howard said the deployment of up to 1,650 Australian personnel, including special forces troops, three Naval ships and up to 14 F/A-18 fighter jets, to the Gulf region could begin within the next few weeks.
The Prime Minister said Australia's military needed to be prepared for war, even while UN weapons inspectors searching for evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were given every chance to succeed.
"The Australian Government has not yet taken a decision to be involved in military action," Howard said. "(But) it could be over the weeks ahead that there will be some forward deployment of assets and personnel to the region."
"The weapons inspectors should be given a proper opportunity to work and a proper opportunity to succeed," Howard was quoted as saying. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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