U.S., Britain put pressure on Blix while Moscow opposes ultimatum resolution
Britain and the United States plan on Monday to press chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix to admit that he has found a "smoking gun" in Iraq, British newspaper, The London Times reported on Monday.
The newspaper said British and U.S. ambassadors plan to demand that Blix reveal more details of an undeclared Iraqi unmanned aircraft, whose existence was only disclosed in a declassified 173-page document circulated by inspectors on Friday.
The discovery of the drone, which has a wing span of 25 feet, will make it much easier for waverers on the U.N. Security Council to accept U.S. and British arguments that Iraq has failed to meet U.N. demands to disarm, The Times article said.
It said Blix had failed to mention the drone in his oral report about Iraq inspections to the Security Council on Friday. "It's incredible," The Times, quoted an unidentified senior diplomat. "The report is going to have a clearly defined impact on the people who are wavering. It's a biggie."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minster Igor Ivanov warned Monday Moscow would vote against the U.S. and British resolution that gives Saddam Hussein a March 17 deadline to disarm, news agencies reported.
This marks the first time that Russia has explicitly said it would vote against the resolution, but Ivanov did no use the word veto. "In the course of the latest session of the U.N. Security Council, we did not hear serious arguments for the use of force to solve the Iraqi problem," the Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying.
"Russia believes that no further resolutions of the U.N. Security Council are necessary, and therefore Russia openly declares that if draft resolution that currently has been introduced for consideration and which contains demands in an ultimate form that cannot be met is nonetheless put to a vote then Russia will vote against this resolution," he said, according to Interfax.
Asked if Iraq could withstand a U.S. attack, Ivanov said, "Of course not."
Ivanov added that any such U.S. military action would "lead to victims among the civilian population, to destruction and not to the resolution of those problems for which the U.N. Security Council took the appropriate resolutions." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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