Saddam calls world to block American-British ''evil'' schemes; U.S. wants U.N. vote on Friday
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein urged the world Thursday to take a "just" position to stop the United States and Britain from achieving their "evil" schemes in a new U.N. resolution on arms inspections in Iraq. The leader said Washington and London were "exerting pressure on the Security Council to take resolutions that contradict international law and the United Nations charter."
"Any just position by the world against the evil wishes of these countries will not be in the interest of Iraq alone but also in the interest of the countries of the world," Iraqi television quoted Saddam as telling visiting Malaysian Information Minister Khalil Yaacob.
"If these two American and British administrations are able to achieve their wishes, the world would return to a new law, which is the law of evil based on power and opportunity rather than the law of love and justice," Saddam said.
The United States has disclosed a new draft resolution to the UN Security Council that gives Iraq one last chance to scrap its weapons of mass destruction. "It is our intention to have the resolution put to a vote sometime during the course of the day on Friday," US ambassador John Negroponte said after two hours of council consultations, AFP reported.
If the resolution is adopted on Friday, Iraq would have seven days to accept the terms. Inspectors would have 45 days to actually begin work, and would have to report to the council 60 days later on Iraq's performance.
Both China's Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin launched concerted rounds of UN telephone diplomacy in an effort to reach consensus within the Security Council.
Chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix told the council he had some practical problems with the text, but said it was his plan to lead an advance party to Baghdad "a week to 10 days after the adoption of the resolution."
France and Russia welcomed the new text but their leaders said they still wanted "ambiguities" taken out. Negroponte said the text could be further amended in council consultations Thursday to take account Blix's input.
In what was probably its most important change, the draft put the disputed words "Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations" into a new context.
The new draft said the council would "afford Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" in spite of previous breaches, but warned that if Blix reported Iraq was obstructing the inspections, the council would convene immediately to consider the situation.
French President Jacques Chirac told Russian President Vladimir Putin he hoped the resolution would be adopted unanimously, but said all risk of the automatic use of force must be excluded. "For us the objective has to be to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. It is not an EU objective to change the regime," the EU's foreign policy envoy Javier Solana stressed in the European parliament in Brussels.
In Baghdad, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz accused the United States of seeking to carve up the Middle East into several marginal states. "The United States has declared Iraq as a target, but in reality all the region is threatened with being broken up into several marginal states," Aziz said, quoted by the official Iraqi news agency INA. Aziz added Washington wanted to "plunge the region again into the colonial system of long ago."
However, he praised opposition to US plans to strike Iraq, saying "time is playing in favor of these forces, and demonstrators are expressing themselves more and more in the capitals of the world, notably in the United States, and rejecting this aggression." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)