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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
World leaders' mixed response to Bush speech
George Bush addresses UN
Bush said Iraq was a "grave and gathering danger"
Leaders around the world have reacted to US President George W Bush's keynote UN speech on Iraq with a mixture of statements of support and calls for international co-operation.

The positions of the US's four fellow permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, France, Russia and China - are particularly important as these countries have the right to veto any proposed UN action:

  • In Britain Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that "no-one... could be in any doubt... about the urgency of dealing with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein".

    Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
    The Iraqi deputy prime minister accused Bush of lying
    He welcomed Mr Bush's call for UN action, saying Britain would "work closely with the United States and its international partners to develop those resolutions of which President Bush spoke".

  • France said Mr Bush's position was "fully compatible" with its own.

    "The president... stressed the central role the United Nations must play and this is a very good thing. We appreciate this," said French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin.

  • In Russia President Vladimir Putin said "political-diplomatic resources in settling the Iraqi problem are far from being exhausted".

  • In China, the foreign ministry released a statement saying the country was "willing to continue to play an active and constructive role alongside the international community to seek a political solution to the question of Iraq within the framework of the United Nations."

    China's number-two leader Li Peng visiting the Philippines said the US must seek approval from the UN before taking any military action against Iraq.

    US response

    In the US, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat, said a number of questions still had to be answered before Congress voted to back military action against Iraq.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin
    Mr Putin said diplomacy was not yet exhausted
    He said many members of Congress wanted to see the reaction of the international community before authorising use of US forces.

    But some leading Republicans called for a quick vote in support of Mr Bush. "We don't have to wait for the UN to act," said Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott.

    Other views

    A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel was "very satisfied" with the speech.

    Turkey, an essential ally in any military action against Iraq, said it welcomed "the US administration's will to work with the United Nations".

    And Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on Iraq to "grab the opportunity" offered by US President Bush's speech and implement the UN resolutions on disarmament.

    The European Union was cautious in its response, with its External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten saying that "we want to see multilateralism as an effective way of dealing with problems, not as an excuse for failing".

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the speech had not changed his opposition to an attack, restating that his country "will not take part in any military intervention".

    Several Arab leaders expressed hope that the war could be avoided, with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa saying the "turn by President Bush has taken in asking the UN to take up its responsibility is a good one, but it needs time".

    Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, however, dismissed Mr Bush's speech as being "full of lies and falsification".

    President George W Bush
    "Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger"
    The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports from New York
    "America is on the diplomatic offensive"
    The BBC's Nick Bryant reports from Washington
    "The big question is what will the president do next"
    The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports from Baghdad
    "Ordinary people here will not have been watching - satellite tv is not allowed"

    Key stories





    Bush's UN speech: Has he got it right?



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    See also:

    12 Sep 02 | Middle East
    11 Sep 02 | Middle East
    11 Sep 02 | Americas
    12 Sep 02 | Politics
    12 Sep 02 | Middle East
    11 Sep 02 | Middle East
    10 Sep 02 | Middle East
    10 Sep 02 | Middle East
    13 Sep 02 | Middle East
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