Mussa: Powell evidence against Iraq insufficient; French PM says stance unchanged
Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa said Thursday that evidence against Iraq provided by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was not more insufficient information and must be checked by the U.N. weapons inspectors.
“The proofs and accusations contained in Mr Powell’s speech to the Security Council are no more than information which must be supplied immediately to the U.N. inspectors to deal with,” Mussa told journalists.
“Mr. Powell’s speech contains new information ... but these proofs are insufficient and at the end of the day it is up to the inspectors to check this information and pursue their mission.”
The fact that Powell spoke to the Security Council showed that it was the United Nations which must decide, Mussa conveyed. “It is still possible to avoid war,” Mussa said, adding “The inspectors must continue and intensify their work and the Iraqi government must at the same time redouble its cooperation with the experts to reply to the questions raised in Mr Powell’s report.”
Meanwhile, France has not changed its position that it does not want war in Iraq despite Powell's presentation, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said in India Thursday.
"There is no change in the French position, no change at all," Raffarin told AFP on arrival to India at the start of a three-day official visit.
"We want the inspectors to work well in Iraq. We do not want war. We believe there are other ways of destroying weapons than war. War is only the last resort. We are committed to absolutely every process to prevent war."
He added, however: "We do want the destruction of weapons that Iraq might have. "We have to ask the Iraqi authorities to cooperate and achieve the objective. The international community must stand united and it must be in the Security Council ... where the decisions are taken."
Later Raffarin added: "We wish that the information given by Mr Powell be examined by inspectors and submitted to UN Security Council." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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