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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. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA --- http://www.nytimes.com/99/12/16/editorial/16thu3.html Editorial 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 Iraq. 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 http://www.newslibrary.com/download.asp?DBLIST=wp99&DOCNUM=63433&TERMV=103:9:147:8:155:2:157:4: ) was: Deadlock on Iraq Editorial Wednesday, December 15, 1999; Page A46 Alternatively, a (free!) summary of this article, written by Abi Cox, runs as follows: 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! END OF ARCHIVE NOTE] --- http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/19991215/wl/un_iraq_23.html 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi