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[casi] Pressure Mounts on Iraq to Accept UN Demands


Pressure Mounts on Iraq to Accept UN Demands

Nov. 10
 By Esmat Salaheddin

CAIRO (Reuters) - Baghdad came under mounting pressure on Sunday to accept a
new U.N. resolution to disarm, with Arab ministers calling it Iraq's best hope of
avoiding a military strike by the United States.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said in Cairo his country was still studying
Friday's unanimous vote by the 15-member United Nations Security Council demanding
unfettered access to sites suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq's official media said on Saturday the resolution gave Washington an
excuse to attack Baghdad, but in an apparent about-turn, newspapers said on Sunday
the vote defeated U.S. plans to wage war, a signal Iraq might accept the U.N.

Iraqi television said on Sunday President Saddam Hussein had ordered
parliament to convene to discuss the resolution but gave no date for when
lawmakers would meet.

The U.N. resolution, co-sponsored by the United States and Britain, was
approved after France and others persuaded Washington to remove an explicit
authorization to use force unilaterally.

Iraq has until Friday to agree to the resolution's tough terms. Weapons
inspectors are due to travel to Baghdad on November 18 to set up communications,
transport and laboratories.

Arab foreign ministers and officials meeting in Cairo said the resolution
offered hope for a peaceful alternative to war against Iraq.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said after talks on Sunday between Sabri
and President Hosni Mubarak that the resolution "provides the opportunity for a
peaceful settlement."

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara, whose country surprised the
international community by backing Friday's U.N. resolution, said it had "pushed
the phantom of war into the distance for several weeks or several months.

"I am satisfied with that. Our goal is to spare Iraq and the region from a
military strike. This was a principle which we were not prepared to abandon in any
form," Shara told reporters in Cairo.

Moussa said the meeting of Arab foreign ministers would issue a resolution
"concerning the threat to attack Iraq," Egypt's state Middle East News Agency
(MENA) reported.

MENA quoted Moussa as saying that Arabs had agreed at a summit earlier this
year that any attack on an Arab state would be considered an aggression on all
Arab states.


While the new U.N. resolution gives the Security Council a central role before
any possible attack, it does not force the United States to seek council
authorization for war.

Iraq's official press on Sunday praised the world community for choosing
diplomacy over war by adopting the U.N. resolution, which they saw as defeating
U.S. plans to wage war.

Al-Jumhuriya newspaper said pro-Iraq demonstrations illustrated the world's
rejection of a U.S. attack on Iraq.

More than half a million anti-war protesters from across Europe marched
through the Italian Renaissance city of Florence on Saturday to denounce any
possible U.S. attack on Iraq.

"The awareness of the world of the U.S. objectives and motives has uncovered
and exposed the evil British-American plan and foiled the first of its series --
to automatically use force against Iraq," the newspaper said.

In Washington, officials said President Bush had approved plans for the
invasion of Iraq if it failed to comply fully with the resolution.

The plan, based on the lessons learned during the Afghanistan invasion to oust
the ruling Taliban, calls for the quick capture of Iraqi territory to establish
forward bases that would be used to thrust 200,000 or more troops deeper into the

The officials said any attack would begin with a smaller number of troops
while U.S. heavy bombers pounded Saddam's palaces, air defenses and bases.

Former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler said he doubted Iraq would comply
fully with the U.N. resolution, leaving the Security Council split over whether to
take military action.

"I will predict Iraq will not simply comply, they will give a version of
compliance," Butler told Australian television on Sunday.

"The Americans will say, 'that is not enough, that's not full compliance'. The
Russians will say, 'let's wait a minute, maybe they need a little more time'," he

"Then an argument will start in the Security Council on whether or not Iraq is
in material breach. The clock is ticking; this is not over."

Disarmament inspections originally started after Iraqi forces were expelled
from neighboring Kuwait by a U.S.-led coalition in the Gulf War. Inspectors
withdrew in 1998 in a wrangle over access to Saddam's palaces.

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