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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 11:30 GMT
In quotes: Reaction to Bush ultimatum
Reaction has been coming in from around the world following US President George W Bush's deadline for President Saddam Hussein and his two sons to leave Iraq by 0100GMT on Thursday 20 March or face war. Here is a selection of quotes:

"Whether it concerns the necessary disarmament of Iraq or the desirable change of the regime in this country, there is no justification for a unilateral decision to resort to force.

"No matter how events evolve now, this ultimatum challenges our view of international relations. It puts the future of a people, the future of a region and world stability at stake."

[President Jacques Chirac]


"I believe it was an anguished decision. President Bush has made various efforts to gain international co-operation.

"I believe it was an unavoidable decision... I support the US stance."

[Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]


"My question was and is: does the degree of threat stemming from the Iraqi dictator justify a war that will bring certain death to thousands of innocent men, women and children? My answer was and is: no.

"As desirable as it is that the dictator leaves his post, the goal of Resolution 1441 is the disarmament of Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

"Whatever happens in the next days or weeks, you can be certain that my government will continue to strive for the smallest chance of peace."

[Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder]


"The international community has demanded for 12 years that Saddam Hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam Hussein has not co-operated.

"It is unacceptable to make a mockery of the international community's authority."

[Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen]


"If from the start of the Iraqi crisis everyone, especially at the United Nations, had exerted maximum pressure on Saddam - something that was not always the case - war would have been averted.

"Some gave the impression... that they wanted at any cost to differentiate themselves from the Anglo-American position instead of putting pressure on Saddam.

"Saddam... counted on the fact that a divided international community ultimately would not have been able to take a decision."

[Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini]


"Mexico reiterates its support for the multilateral route to solve conflicts and regrets the path to war.

"The world has to continue pushing solutions that comply with the letter and spirit of the UN charter, which establishes that the use of force should be the last and exceptional recourse, justified only when other methods have failed."

[President Vicente Fox]


"If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate.

"We will hope there will be no war. I'm not very optimistic."

[Prime Minister Jean Chretien]


"China stands for a peaceful solution of the Iraq issue within the framework of the UN through political means. Every effort should be made to avoid war.

"As long as there is a glimpse of hope, we will not give up our efforts for a political and peaceful solution."

[Prime Minister Wen Jiabao]


"Moscow believes there are no grounds for saying that a political-diplomatic solution to the situation in Iraq has no chance, that the 'time for diplomacy is over'."

[Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko]


"While the nations of the world sort out the Iraq conflict, our job here is to take care of our own stability and normalcy, and we're prepared to do so."

[President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo]


"What is happening in the region is to safeguard the interests of Israel.

"Unfortunately the gap between the Islamic countries is so wide and the Iraqi regime is responsible for this by sowing the seed of discord among Islamic states through imposing a war on Iran."

[Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi]

Arab League:

"The Arab League cannot accept such a final warning.

"UN Security Council Resolution 1441 does not contain a time limit and the world has acknowledged that Iraq was co-operating with UN weapons inspectors to implement this resolution.

"We regret the US decision to act outside the UN Security Council and outside international legality."

[Spokesman Hisham Yussef]


"With this decision by the US, the position of Asean is very tricky.

"For Asean to come out openly and support the Americans would be suicidal... America is not expecting any Asean country to do that."

[Asean Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong]


"Pakistan believes that time and space for diplomacy never ends."

[Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri]

New Zealand:

"Like most countries, our strong preference was for the disarmament of Iraq to occur peacefully... At this 11th hour, our government urges Iraq to seize this very last opportunity to avert the catastrophe of war."

[Prime Minister Helen Clark]

The Vatican:

"Those who decide that all peaceful means that international law makes available are exhausted assume a grave responsibility before God, their conscience and history."

[Spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls]

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