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Note: France is Security Council permanent member and has veto power over any potential Council resolution. Note: France holds the Council presidency during January 2003. French Officials on a Potential War on Iraq, Disarmament and Inspections * French President Jacques Chirac * French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin * French Foreign Ministry Spokesperson *********************************** Source: Sebastian Rotella, “Chirac Backs U.N. Inspectors' Request for More Time”, Los Angeles Times, 18 January 2003 French President Jacques Chirac [begin] The inspectors have been given a mission...If some country or other acts outside that framework, it would be a violation of international law. [end] *********************************** Source: Le Figaro, interview with French President Jacques Chirac, 20 January 2003, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/actu/bulletin.gb.asp?liste=20030121.gb.html [begin] Q. – Iraq is still not providing the “active cooperation “ required by the UN inspectors. Are we moving towards war? THE PRESIDENT – France regards Iraq’s disarmament as a necessity. In this context, she does indeed hope that Iraq, to avoid the worst, will agree to “active cooperation” with the inspectors. She also considers that military intervention is legitimate only if it is based on a Security Council decision, one which can be taken only on the basis of a report by the inspectors. We want everyone to be aware of this requirement. There is nothing inevitable about war. It is always an acknowledgement of failure, the worst solution. So we shall pursue our effort. A war of this nature, in that region which really doesn’t need a further conflict, would potentially have very serious human consequences, political consequences which would be difficult to control, economic consequences and, lastly, a substantial financial cost. A figure of $100 billion has been mentioned. When you think that we are incapable of supplying, for example, the necessary medicines in the poor countries to fight the pandemics, you wonder whether all that is really sensible. Naturally, its avoidance demands genuine cooperation on Iraq’s part. Today, there may be doubts about the adequacy of this cooperation, some may wish it were more active, as I do. But it’s for the inspectors, and not an individual country, to judge whether they are succeeding in fulfilling their mission. Q. – At the UN, is France finding it increasingly hard to restrain the United States? THE PRESIDENT – Obviously, if the United States decided to act alone we would have to face the fact that this was not action undertaken by the international community. Q. – Is there a risk of that happening? THE PRESIDENT – I don’t want to prejudge the issue. I have a lot of respect for the American president. I am sure he will take on board all the consequences of a gesture of that nature – in the event, of course, of the international community not being compelled to act by Saddam Hussein’s refusal to comply with the essential demands with respect to disarmament. Q. – Is the British position weakening Europe? THE PRESIDENT – It isn't strengthening it, but, at the end of the day, everyone is his own man. Traditionally, the British have always tended to look out across the high seas and towards the American cousin. Q. – Are you setting a deadline for obtaining Iraq's active cooperation? THE PRESIDENT – Saddam Hussein would be well advised to understand that the sooner the better. [end] *********************************** Source: Security Council, 4688th meeting, S/PV.4688, provisional verbatim transcript French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, statement to Security Council meeting on “Combating Terrorism”, 20 January 2003 [begin] Let us look at things clearly. Terrorism feeds on injustice. An equitable development model is therefore necessary to eradicate terrorism once and for all. That is why we must work ceaselessly to resolve crises: in Iraq, in Korea and particularly in the Middle East, the crux of the crises in the region and in the world. We must once again put development at the centre of our concerns, mobilizing more resources and more imagination. Finally, we must foster dialogue among cultures, looking beyond differences. In this area, the United Nations has an irreplaceable role. [end] *********************************** Source: French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, press conference (UN headquarters), unofficial translation, 20 January 2003 [begin] I’d like now to say a few words about Iraq. The crisis in Iraq is something of a test. The stakes are enormous. * enormous because you cannot separate Iraq from the other proliferation issues. What we do for Iraq regarding proliferation has to be valid for every crisis. * enormous because we must preserve international unity. Unilateral military intervention would be perceived as a victory for the law of the strongest, an attack on the rule of law and on international morality. A - In Iraq, we made the choice for inspections: * It’s a choice for legitimacy which was endorsed by the entire international community. * It’s also a choice for efficiency. The inspections are taking place in satisfactory conditions. Already we know for a fact that Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction programs have been largely blocked, even frozen. Every day, we are stronger from the information we're getting on the ground. So we must do everything possible to strengthen this process. * It’s a choice for responsibility. If we give ourselves the means, the inspections will be taken to their conclusion. Once Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei present their report to the Security Council on the 27th of January, we will have to consider all the consequences in order to make adjustments in terms of resources and personnel. * Lastly it’s a choice for firmness. Iraq must understand that it is time for it to cooperate actively; to provide the international community with a comprehensive and complete picture on its weapons programs. We will not accept any gray areas. B – Since we can disarm Iraq through peaceful means, we should not take the risk of: * endangering the lives of innocent civilians or soldiers; * jeopardizing the stability of the region and further widening the gap between our peoples and cultures; * and fuelling terrorism. The unity and consultations we have maintained since the start of the Iraqi crisis have been exemplary. They must be the benchmark for handling other crises, particularly North Korea and the Middle East. [end] *********************************** Source: Glenn Kessler and Colum Lynch, “France Vows to Block Resolution on Iraq War”, Washington Post, 21 January 2003, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19221-2003Jan20.html French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin, press conference (UN headquarters), 20 January 2003: [begin] [the UN ought to continue] the path of cooperation. The other choice is to move forward out of impatience over a situation in Iraq to move towards military intervention. We believe that today nothing justifies envisaging military action. [end] *********************************** Source: Sonni Efron and Maggie Farley, “France Says It May Veto Use of Force in Iraq’, Los Angeles Times, 21 January 2003 French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin, press conference (UN headquarters), 20 January 2003: [begin] As long as you can make progress with the inspectors and get cooperation, there's no point in choosing the worst possible solution – military intervention. [end] *********************************** Source: French Foreign Affairs Minister Dominique de Villepin, interview given to French radio stations, 20 January 2003, http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2003/villepin012003.asp [begin] Q. – Exile for Saddam Hussein, do you think this solution the Americans have been talking about can be a solution to the Iraq crisis? THE MINISTER – Those are scenarios which the international community hasn't provided for. The objective set by the United Nations is the disarmament of Iraq. We're concentrating on that objective. Regardless of whether other ambitions are pursued – regime change, Saddam Hussein's departure, all these are possibilities for some countries – for France, there's one objective and one alone: the disarmament of Iraq. That's why we're actively working for it. We want, within the framework laid down by UNSCR 1441, to get Iraq's active cooperation, which will allow satisfaction of our own demand: Iraq's complete fulfillment of her international obligations. Q. - Is it a mistake to confuse the objectives? THE MINISTER – I perfectly understand that objective being envisaged and it being one for certain countries. For France, we are sticking to this simple objective: the disarmament of Iraq. (...) Q. – You had a meeting with Colin Powell, what's your assessment of the risk of the United States acting unilaterally? THE MINISTER – Today the international community is facing a choice. The choice of cooperation, in accordance with the United Nations' decision, or the choice of resorting to force. And I can understand the United States feeling some impatience. In the current situation, I want to affirm France's very strong determination. We are expressing, every day, the desire for more effective cooperation, more effective inspections. And we note that progress has been made in the past two months. It has to be stepped up, Iraq's active cooperation must be confirmed on the ground. But we think that the inspectors have the means, with nearly 300 inspections carried out every month, really to achieve the objective we have set ourselves, that of disarmament. So there's every reason to continue, to improve, to take the action necessitated by any difficulties we may encounter. That, I believe, is common sense. The military option would not only entail huge uncertainty, but, above all, would not have the legitimacy of action decided by the international community. So it would not be very effective, since it would revive a number of divisions on the international stage, and we want to avoid it. Q. – The United States seems determined to back her case by explaining that Iraq is violating UNSCR 1441 on the one hand because the weapons declaration was incorrect and, on the other, because she isn't cooperating actively. Hans Blix has also said this. What's your position on this? Is the way the Iraqis are cooperating acceptable? THE MINISTER – France's position is simple. So long as the inspectors have the means to make progress and carry out their inspections, there's no reason to change tack, stop the inspections. The day the inspectors tell us: "we can no longer work in Iraq", then the Security Council will have to reconvene and take the necessary decisions. For the moment, this isn't the case. President Chirac talked to Messrs Blix and ElBaradei in Paris. (...) The inspectors are going to report to the Security Council on 27 January. That will be the time to stake stock. We feel that there is the possibility of achieving a peaceful settlement of this crisis through the inspections. And it's very important in a dangerous world, in a world in crisis, to show that the united international community is capable of taking up the challenge, capable of achieving the objectives it has set itself. US/IRAQ/WAR ON TERRORISM Q. – What in your view would be the consequences of unilateral US military action on the war on terrorism? THE MINISTER – There is obviously, in the face of global threats, the need for a global response. This is why we requested a ministerial-level Security Council meeting on terrorism, which was held this morning. At this meeting we noted that the problems are linked: terrorism, proliferation, the crises. There is a feeling of injustice, there are criminal rings which are taking advantage of the world situation. So it's important to be mobilized on every front, to take action, to try to be as effective as possible. And for this we need the international community to do its utmost, display as much imagination as possible. A lot of people could well fail to understand a unilateral military intervention, it would risk arousing a great deal of frustration and would have neither the legitimacy nor the effectiveness that mobilization of international action would give such a project. [end] *********************************** Source: Reuters, “France Wants to Mobilize EU to Avert Iraq War”, 21 January 2003, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2079931 French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin, press encounter following meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, 21 January 2003 [begin] It is important that Europe speak on this issue with a single voice. We are mobilized, we believe war can be avoided... We see no justification today for a [military] intervention, since the inspectors are able to do their work. We could not support unilateral action. [end] *********************************** Source: French Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, press briefing, 21 January 2003, http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/briefing/us210103.asp#3 [begin] Q - Is France still hoping to maintain unity in the Security Council on Iraq? We got the impression yesterday that effectiveness implied the absence of unity.? A - I must contradict your take on things. I’d like to use this moment to say a few words about the agreement between UNMOVIC, the IAEA and Baghdad. As you know, a document was signed, and the Iraqi authorities have pledged to go in the direction the inspectors are asking, and the Security Council expects. All this confirms that we have to continue to advance, continue to move forward. It is essential for UNMOVIC and the AIEA to clear up the gray areas that persist about Iraqi programs for developing weapons of mass destruction. It is indispensable for Baghdad to cooperate actively with the UN inspectors. France expects Iraq to quickly translate its commitments into action. For example, the inspectors have to be able to interview Iraqi scientists freely, obtain the explanations they wish about the shortcomings in the December 7 declaration and that way move towards understanding unresolved or not-yet resolved questions about disarmament, and have access to documents that have so far been refused them. A number of documents, it seems, have been handed over to UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and it’s a first step, but the Security Council expects active, significant and sustained cooperation. Q - What are we supposed to understand by the word “freely”? A - What counts is that the conditions for free interviews are met in each individual case. It may mean interviews in the absence of representatives from Baghdad, for example. I don’t wish to be more specific because it’s not up to us to give instructions to Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei; they are the judges of what is most effective way to obtain precise information. As the minister has said, what’s important is that France’s position on Iraq—and elsewhere—is guided by strong principles, the rule of law, morality, solidarity and justice. There is only one objective, one only, and that is Iraq’s disarmament. And to achieve it we have the means, the inspectors who have information on the ground. (...) Q - Is there a difference between resolution 1441 and the contents of the 10-point document. I get the impression that the documents includes everything in the resolution? A - No, it’s not the same, it’s more specific. It is correct that the inspectors did not wish some points in 1441 to be left obscure so it’s logical to follow the démarche of this resolution but the document is not limited to encompassing the resolution. There are definite, practical clarifications on various points. (...) Q - Did yesterday’s meeting in New York really deal with the war on terrorism or was it given over the Iraqi crisis? A- The minister was quite clear: the purpose of the meeting was to give new impetus to the fight against terrorism. At the meeting there were contacts on other issues, that’s also a fact. Q - Do you have any comment on Turkey’s proposals for a regional ministerial meeting? A - It’s an interesting question. We took note of the regional initiative proposed by six countries neighboring Iraq and from the region. Everything that goes in the direction of peace and sends a strong message to Iraq is a step in the right direction. It is useful to step up the international efforts focusing on Iraq’s disarmament. Q - But Turkey’s meeting focuses more on the aspect of finding a haven for Iraq’s president. Do you have any comment? A - The minister has answered that so I refer you to what he said. Our objective is Iraq’s disarmament, that is what matters to us. If one party or another is interested in other aspects of things, so be it. But our problem, our concern, is to stay with the scenario set out by the international community. Now, the objective of the UN is Iraq’s disarmament, and we are focused on that objective. Q - The US media are calling yesterday’s meeting a sort of French ambush, a pre-emptive strike by French diplomats. Can you comment on this and when did France get the idea of convening everyone to talk about the fight against terrorism? A - With regard to your first point, I don’t comment on the views of American news organs, especially when they don’t really correspond to what the US authorities themselves –and they’ve never said any such thing. As I’ve said before, we are confronted with international terrorism; after September 11 it became a major challenge, and remember it’s a challenge to France. Remember that we’ve been hit by terrorism, in Pakistan, in the Yemen, French citizens have been killed. So we feel particularly involved and we have a particularly important, significant reason to say that terrorism must be fought, that it is an important objective and there must be no let-up in the counter-terrorism. That was precisely the purpose of the meeting in New York. The terrorists, as the minister said, are more resolved than ever to sow destruction, terrorism threatens everyone and cannot be fought in isolation. We have a duty to mobilize together and to demand results. Much has been done at the UN, at the G8 and elsewhere, and much remains to be done because the face of terrorism is constantly shifting and is able to adapt to different contexts. We consider it important, essential, to continue to work at a high level and to continue to take forward proposals in this domain. As for the idea of an international meeting, it grew out of the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and took definite form at the end of last year. Q - Recently rumors were going around that France would use its veto in the Security Council. Can you confirm this? A - We’re not putting ourselves either in this perspective or in this hypothesis, we’re not at that stage. As the minister said, now is the time for inspections, the time hasn’t come to break the thread of the inspections. He said we should stay with them and get the most out of them. At this time the inspectors are conducting 300 inspections a month. They have to be able to continue to do this. This approach is consistent with the principles which the minister repeated and to which we remain committed. Q - Mr. de Villepin also says that what’s done regarding non-proliferation in Iraq must apply to all the other crises. What’s the continuity in this idea? Will it have a place on January 27 at the Security Council meeting? A - For us, the action is continuous in all areas, and the idea may apply to North Korea, for example. Q - Will France request parallel action with other crises? A - The question will probably not come up like that. In the case of Iraq, we have a two-stage approach, stipulated in resolution 1441. For other crises such as North Korea, the approach is slightly different. It’s a result of the provisions and operating rules of the IAEA, the NPT and Security Council. What counts is that these approaches are consistent, that the démarches are coherent so that the non-proliferation action, which is global by definition, is effective. It’s a global response that has to be brought to the problem, not a response in one case rather than another. The minister also said that the work the inspectors are doing in Iraq is work that may serve as a reference and a model for other crises. Q - If the Americans begin attacking Iraq, what will the international community do against this unilateral decision? A - I repeat, we’re not dealing with that hypothesis, we’re working for multilateral action, agreed by common accord. Q - Mr. Rumsfeld said that Iraq might be able to attack Iraq. Do you think so, too? A - Those remarks don’t call for any particular comment on my part. Each country’s national defense is the domain of that country. Q - The build-up of American and British troops in the region is growing, does that worry you? A - It’s an element we’re taking into account. [end] *********************************** Source: French Foreign Minister Dominique, joint press conference with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, 21 January 2003, http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/actu/bulletin.gb.asp?liste=20030122.gb.html#Chapitre2 Q. – Is Europe ready to negotiate a way out for Saddam Hussein which would avoid a war? THE MINISTER – Today the solution laid down in UNSCR 1441 is to move forward with the cooperation, active cooperation of the Iraqis, and that's what we're asking them for. We are insisting on Iraq actually being able to do what she has to do today so as to give peace every chance. We think it's possible. The inspectors on the ground are working. Over 300 inspections a month are already being organized and allowing us to make headway under satisfactory conditions. We want to do more. The next report which will be presented to the Security Council on 27 January will be an opportunity to take stock. It's an interim report. We shall have to take on board everything it says, try to improve things, dig more deeply, make proposals in order to go further. As you know, France has asked all the members of the Security Council to give the inspectors all the available information, together with the requisite manpower and equipment. So we have both the manpower and intelligence from the international community to take forward the policy of cooperation we are pursuing today. Q. – In addition to the cooperation, my question concerned the negotiation of the ending of Saddam Hussein's reign... THE MINISTER – Let's stick to the objective set by the international community. Let's concentrate on a clear objective which is that of the whole international community: to disarm Iraq. That's the aim of the Security Council, that's the aim of the United Nations and we must stay clearly focused on it. Q. – What if the United States doesn't want to stick just to [the objectives set by the international community]? THE MINISTER – As we have said, we can't support unilateral action. President Chirac has made this very plain. France's position is one which gives its full weight to the concept of collective security. We are supporting the Security Council's action. We can see no justification at all today for resorting to force in the present circumstances since the inspectors can work and the cooperation they are receiving is allowing progress. That today is the key factor. Force can be only a last resort. The President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, has said this very clearly. IRAQ/EU GAC Q. – Can you envisage Europe adopting a common position on Iraq, for example at the next General Affairs Council on 27/28 January? THE MINISTER – We're working on it. We're going to combine our efforts to move towards it. Yesterday, I talked a lot to the other EU members who attended the Security Council meeting. This is an ongoing effort, a sustained effort. (...) It's important for Europe to be able to speak with a single voice on such an important conflict, it's important for Europe to be able to agree on the principles it wants to see defended in the international arena: our respect for the law and moral values are the principles which unite us. We talk enough about our values, and we must be capable of conveying them to the outside world, embodying them, mobilizing to defend them. This is a particularly appropriate objective for Europe. Europe has a special duty to fulfill in the international arena because of its history, its destiny, because of our diverse heritages and our deep-rooted common values. IRAQ/US/UK Q. – What role do you think Britain has played in shifting the US position? THE MINISTER – It's not for me to give an opinion on that. Today we are all working together to ensure that things can move in the direction of cooperation. We are mobilized, we want to believe that the war can be avoided. (...)./. *********************************** Reuters, “France Wants to Mobilize EU to Avert Iraq War”, 21 January 2003, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2079931 [begin] [French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin] said he would use a meeting of the 15 EU foreign ministers in Brussels next Monday and Tuesday to seek a united stance on the issue. [end] *********************************** Source: Paul Carrel, France, “Germany Oppose Rush Into Iraq War”, Reuters, 22 January 2003, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=B2QUEGVKDDPYICRBAELCFFA?type=worldNews&storyID=2091751 French President Jacques Chirac, joint press conference with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder encounter following Fortieth anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, 22 January 2003 [begin] War is not inevitable..France and Germany, who are successively chairing the Security Council, are coordinating their positions closely to give peace every possible chance. [end] *********************************** Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, “France and Germany Agree that War in Iraq Should be Avoided”, 22 January 2003 [begin] France and Germany have the same position on the Iraqi crisis...The first is that all decisions are to be made by the (U.N.) Security Council, and only by that body, after having heard the report of the arms inspectors...for us, war is always a confirmation of failure. Everything must be done to avoid war. [end] *********************************** Nathaniel Hurd Consultant on United Nations Iraq policy Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389 Fax: 718-504-4224 Residential Address: 90 7th Ave. Apt. #6 Brooklyn, NY 11217 _________________________________________________________________ Protect your PC - get McAfee.com VirusScan Online http://clinic.mcafee.com/clinic/ibuy/campaign.asp?cid=3963 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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