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WashPost/NYTimes Editorials on SC Deliberations

The two most influential U.S. newspapers -- the Washington Post and the NY
Times -- have issued the following editorials on Iraq and the machinations
of the Security Council.  The NYTimes editorial is so clueless, one suspects
the editorial writers' only source of information is their own newspaper ...

Also attached is the AP's story on the French position.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

December 16, 1999

French Stalling on Iraq

Negotiations have dragged on for months on a United Nations Security Council
resolution to send an international inspection team back to Iraq, while
Saddam Hussein takes advantage of each delay. This week, as the council
prepared to vote, France balked at the plan, asking for more time to see if
new language could be crafted that would move Russia and China from
abstention to support. The French tactic is mischievous and dangerous. The
Security Council can and should act immediately and get inspectors back into

The pending resolution has been watered down already, but it has acceptable
provisions establishing a new inspection commission to replace the one Iraq
barred last December. The new monitoring group would not only re-establish
inspections but also would set up a new system of electronic sensors and
checks on stocks to ensure that Iraq is not building biological, chemical or
nuclear weapons. Passage of the resolution would also clear the way for
re-entry of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. If Iraq
carries out its disarmament tasks, the Security Council can ease sanctions,
while monitoring the uses of oil export revenues. 

Russia and China, which have long looked after Iraq's interests at the
council, were prepared to abstain on the new resolution, allowing it to
pass. That is why France's last-minute delaying tactic, apparently dictated
by President Jacques Chirac, is dismaying. French disarmament experts have
been vigilant in identifying Iraqi abuses, but Mr. Chirac is sensitive to
Iraq's threat to cut off commercial ties with France. The French president
wants the foreign ministers of the Western democracies to discuss the
measure in Berlin later this week. 

Since the resolution is the product of painstaking negotiations, there is no
reason to think that acceptable new provisions can be added that are
favorable to Russia and China. Further delays risk unraveling the consensus
already backing the measure. The composition of the Security Council changes
next month, and the resolution would have to be redrafted to win approval of
the new members. 

France ought to stop temporizing and get behind a resolution allowing for
resumption of a tough monitoring system in Iraq. Any further delay gives Mr.
Hussein new opportunities to pose a threat to his neighbors. 


[ARCHIVE NOTE (4-Feb-2001): A Washington Post article which was here has been
removed from the archive due to a copyright violation pointed out by the
Washington Post.

The article (available for a fee at ) 

Deadlock on Iraq
Wednesday, December 15, 1999; Page A46 

Alternatively, a (free!) summary of this article, written by Abi Cox, runs as 

The article states that Saddam Hussein is successfully preventing the UN
from reintroducing weapons inspectors into Iraq. Clinton believes that if
this situation is allowed to continue, Hussein will 'develop weapons of
mass destruction, he will deploy them and he will use them.' The Washington
Post argues that Russia is responsible for this failure.
The Russians reject the US and British resolution calling on Mr Hussein to
accept new inspections teams, and believe, like Iraq, that sanctions should
be lifted without thorough inspections taking place. Similarly, France and
China do not want to accept the resolution for fear of compromising their
commercial interests in Iraq.

The Washington Post believes Clinton should 'force this issue' because
the deadlock benefits Saddam Hussein, allowing him to develop an arsenal
of weapons unknown to Western powers. The US and Britain have already
tried to meet Russian concerns. The Post states that 'the administration
should not allow Russian intransigence to block its Iraq policy'. It
should be prepared to increase the pressure on Hussein even if the
resolution is vetoed.

In summary:  washington post tells Clinton: sod UN, let's go it alone!



Wednesday December 15 5:16 PM ET 
France Pushes for Iraq Resolution
By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press Writer 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - In a final attempt to get all Security Council members
behind a new U.N. Iraq policy, France said Wednesday it wants key ministers
attending a meeting in Berlin to make the resolution more specific so it can
be easily implemented.

After eight months of negotiations, the vote on an Iraq resolution backed by
the United States and Britain was postponed Monday and again on Tuesday as
diplomats struggled to send a strong message of unity to Iraq. France,
Russia and China still have problems with the text.

France's U.N. Ambassador Alain Dejammet said it was ``logical'' for foreign
ministers of the United States, Britain, France and Russia to discuss the
Iraq resolution on the margins of a meeting with fellow ministers from
Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada that starts Thursday in Berlin.

``Since ministers have an opportunity to meet, it seemed, of course,
completely wise to seize this opportunity ... to reach a consensus,'' he
said. ``It's easier to discuss around the table than by phone.''

The resolution would resume U.N. weapons inspections, which stopped a year
ago, and offer Iraq the possibility of having sanctions suspended if it
cooperates with the weapons inspectors. Iraq claims it is already disarmed
and is demanding that sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait be
lifted in exchange for allowing inspectors back in the country.

Britain amended the resolution Monday to address Russian and Chinese
concerns about the level of Iraqi cooperation with inspectors required
before sanctions could be suspended. France raised concerns Tuesday that the
language in the text left too much room for interpretation about what Iraq
must do to get sanctions suspended.

Of the proposed discussion between ministers in Berlin, Dejammet said, ``Of
course, it's an attempt in the last moments of this negotiation, and some
positions are very well entrenched, but if there is still a possibility to
improve it'' that chance shouldn't be missed.

``Otherwise, we'll meet with difficulties, with ambiguities, which will
remain'' and could prevent the council from implementing the resolution.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, the current Security Council
president, said he wanted to vote soon.

``I expect this to come to closure quite soon and for what we've mapped out
as the endgame on this to be concluded very shortly,'' he said. 
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