President Jacques Chirac said yesterday that France was
prepared to veto the US-backed resolution on Iraq, joining Russia in saying it
would vote against giving Saddam Hussain a March 17 deadline to disarm. "No
matter what the circumstances, France will vote 'no,'" Chirac said in a
televised interview. (WN photo)...
France, Russia vow
to block war vote
Paris/Washington |Reuters |
President Jacques Chirac said yesterday that France was prepared to veto the
U.S.-backed resolution on Iraq, joining Russia in saying it would vote against
giving Saddam Hussain a March 17 deadline to disarm.
"No matter what the circumstances, France will vote 'no,'" Chirac said
in a televised interview. "Right now we consider that there is no need for
war to achieve the objective we fixed - the disarmament of Iraq," he said.
However, Chirac indicated the veto might not be needed because the resolution
does not have the nine Security Council votes needed for passage. "Tonight
this resolution, which carries an ultimatum ... does not have a majority of nine
votes," he said.
But Chirac said that even if the United States was able to muster the necessary
support, France would block it.
"When one of the five permanent members - the United States, Britain,
Russia, China and France - votes no, even if there is a majority, the resolution
is not adopted - that is called the right of veto," Chirac said.
U.S. President George W. Bush, meanwhile, telephoned Chinese President Jiang
Zemin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and was to appeal to other
nations, said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.
Secretary of State Colin Powell called Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
and Mexico's foreign minister.
Security Council ambassadors began new consultations yesterday, but chances of
the resolution coming to a vote today - the original U.S. target date - appeared
to be receding since Washington and its allies were still far from mustering the
nine votes needed.
A Japanese government official said Koizumi pledged support for the measure.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov renewed his country's determination to
block the resolution. An official of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League said
Pakistan has decided to abstain in the vote.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned the U.S. and its allies that the
legitimacy of a war to disarm Iraq without Security Council backing would be
Iraq, meanwhile, denied a U.S. report that it had moved explosives into oil
fields in Kirkuk in the north of the country, dismissing the report from an
official in Washington as a lie. "Such a lie does not even merit a
response," an information ministry spokesman said.
A U.S. official said earlier that Washington had "seen indications
that Iraqis may be moving explosives into the oil fields in Kirkuk."
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