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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 00:11 GMT
Full text: EU Iraq declaration
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses a news conference with Foreign Minister Jack Straw
Britain pushed for a hawkish stance
Here is the full text of a statement by European Union leaders issued on 17 February 2003 after a summit on the Iraq crisis, attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:

War is not inevitable. Force should be used only as a last resort

The way the unfolding of the situation in Iraq will be handled will have an important impact on the world in the next decades.

In particular, we are determined to deal effectively with the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

We are committed to the United Nations remaining at the centre of the international order.

We recognise that the primary responsibility for dealing with Iraqi disarmament lies with the Security Council. We pledge our full support to the Council in discharging its responsibilities.

Inspections

The Union's objective for Iraq remains full and effective disarmament in accordance with the relevant [UN Security Council] resolutions, in particular resolution 1441. We want to achieve this peacefully.

It is clear that this is what the people of Europe want.

War is not inevitable. Force should be used only as a last resort. It is for the Iraqi regime to end this crisis by complying with the demands of the Security Council.

We are committed to working with all our partners, especially the United States, for the disarmament of Iraq, for peace and stability in the region and for a decent future for all its people

We reiterate our full support for the ongoing work of the UN inspectors. They must be given the time and resources the UN Security Council believes they need.

However, inspections cannot continue indefinitely in the absence of full Iraqi co-operation.

This must include the provision of all the additional and specific information on the issues that have been raised in the inspectors' reports.

Baghdad should have no illusions: it must disarm and co-operate immediately and fully. Iraq has a final opportunity to resolve the crisis peacefully.

The Iraqi regime alone will be responsible for the consequences if it continues to flout the will of the international community and does not take this last chance.

We recognise that the unity and firmness of the international community, as expressed in the unanimous adoption of the resolution 1441, and the military build-up have been essential in obtaining the return of the inspectors.

These factors will remain essential if we are to achieve the full co-operation we seek.

We will work with the Arab countries and The League of Arab Nations.

Mid-East peace

We will encourage them, separately and jointly, to bring home to Saddam Hussein the extreme danger of miscalculation of the situation and the need for full compliance with resolution 1441.

We support Turkey's regional initiatives with the neighbours of Iraq and Egypt.

In this regional context, the European Union reiterates its firm belief in the need to invigorate the peace process in the Middle East and to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We continue to support early implementation of the roadmap endorsed by the Quartet. Terror and violence must end. So must settlement activity.

Palestinian reforms must be speeded up and, in this respect, President Arafat's statement that he will appoint a Prime Minister is a welcome step in the right direction.

The unity of the international community is vital in dealing with these problems. We are committed to working with all our partners, especially the United States, for the disarmament of Iraq, for peace and stability in the region and for a decent future for all its people.

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See also:

17 Feb 03 | Middle East
17 Feb 03 | Middle East
17 Feb 03 | Middle East
17 Feb 03 | Middle East
16 Feb 03 | Americas
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