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Friday, February 6, 1998 Published at 18:48 GMT

World: Monitoring

Divided voice of the UN
image: [ Britain and the United States are committed to use force if necessary ]
Britain and the United States are committed to use force if necessary

The Iraqi crisis has created a clear split among the five permanent members of the UN's Security Council. The United States and Britain have reiterated their readiness to use force if necessary to make Iraqi President Saddam Hussein back down in the stand-off with the UN over access for its weapons inspectors. But the other three countries which hold permanent seats on the Council oppose the use of military force and have not abandoned hope of a diplomatic solution. The following excerpts show the extent of the divide:

United States

US President Bill Clinton: We are prepared to act (Dur 0' 42")
"Let me be clear. If Saddam does not comply with the unanimous will of the international community we must be prepared to act, and we are."

US President Bill Clinton
Source: White House news conference 6 Feb 98


"It is important that we stress all the time, of course, we want a diplomatic solution, but it must be a diplomatic solution based on, and fully consistent with, the principles which we have set out ... We have of course to prepare in case diplomacy cannot work."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Source: White House news conference 6 Feb 98


[ image: Boris Yeltsin]
Boris Yeltsin
"The main thing is that we have taken the firm stand of saying `no' to the violent option. It is impossible. It is world war. We have been supported by the French and by Italy. Britain is still hesitating a bit ... The United Nations organization has been drawn in. [Secretary-General Kofi] Annan has become involved . This is most important. He has agreed with our position and our proposal."

"All this is already beginning to die down gradually ... I am an optimist. But in no circumstances must we allow a violent strike, an American strike, to take place. We must not allow it. I said as much to Clinton: `No, we shall not allow it'."

Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Source: ITAR-TASS news agency (World Service), Moscow, in Russian 1024 gmt 6 Feb 98


"There has been some progress, there have been some openings, and this is encouraging, although is still not enough ... There are ideas up in the air which will perhaps lead to the resolution of this crisis, and these ideas are seemingly based on specific formulas for the inspection of and the free access to sites by differentiating between the presidential palace and the immediate vicinity of the presidential palace".

[ image: UN inspectors at work]
UN inspectors at work
"Our concern - which I think is shared by everyone with regard to this case - is to try to find formulas which would, on the one hand, enable Unscom [UN Special Commission] to work normally and to have normal access in order to be able to check whether Iraq respects its disarmament obligations, while, on the other hand, taking into account the fact that a presidential palace is not like a factory or a farm and that a minimum of consideration is due to the dignity and the sovereignty of the Iraqi people."

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Yves Doutriaux
Source: Radio France Internationale, Paris, in French 1700 gmt 5 Feb 98


"Chinese Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen stressed today that China does not favour the use of force against Iraq ...

[ image: Chinese President Jiang Zemin]
Chinese President Jiang Zemin
"Qian said Chinese President Jiang Zemin is deeply concerned about the current crisis of Iraqi weapons inspection, which is increasingly deteriorating."

"Qian expressed his appreciation for the on-going active diplomatic efforts made by many parties to solve the crisis. He said that China is `quite uneasy' about the aggravation of the crisis of Iraqi weapons inspection ... the state sovereignty, national dignity and security concerns of Iraq, a member country of the United Nations, should also be respected ..."

"The Chinese side hopes that the parties concerned would adopt restraint and flexible attitude and continue seeking the settlement of differences through dialogues."

Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0710 gmt 5 Feb 98

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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