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Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 12:32 GMT
Little support for Iraq attack
Saddam Hussein chairs a meeting of top officials
Saddam Hussein was defiant after the strikes
Russia and China have both condemned the latest raids by British and US warplanes in Iraq.

A senior Russian defence ministry official said the US was "trying to replace the United Nations Security Council, which constitutes a dangerous tendency that will destabilise an already fragile international situtation."

French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin (rear)
The French response was terse

A Chinese representative at the UN said his country opposed "armed intervention by any UN member state under any circumstances against any other nation without the express consent of the Security Council".

There was a cool response from France - the other permanent member of the Security Council.

A French foreign ministry spokesman said Paris had not been informed or consulted about the raid.

"We are waiting for an explanation from the American administration", he said.

US and UK planes have patrolled "no-fly zones" in the north and south of Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, regularly bombing what they say are military targets.

But Friday's attack on targets near Baghdad was the biggest for more than two years.

Russian anger

A range of Russian officials criticised Friday's bombing, from the nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky to the liberal reformer Grigory Yavlinsky.

And the official response was firm opposition to the action.

"Any actions which contradict international law can only complicate the resolution of the Iraqi problem", said foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko.

Speaking from Syria, President Putin's special envoy to the Middle East Alexander Saltnanov said the strikes "will not produce positive results".


Middle Eastern powers also condemned the bombing.

Iranian state radio described the attack as part of a "warmongering, crisis-making policy".

US President George W Bush
Mr Bush has said he will enforce no-fly zones

Turkey's foreign minister, Ismail Cem, was more cautious, regretting civilian casualties and saying Turkey "would like such incidents not to recur in the future".

A top Palestinian official, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, demanded the immediate termination of armed action against Iraq.

Speaking on Qatari television, he called for the Arab world to forget its internal divisions and rally around "the fraternal Iraqi nation, which fell victim to treacherous aggression".

An Arab League statement said there was "no justification" for the bombing, which it said "runs counter to UN resolutions and international norms".

Israeli support

Israel's deputy defence minister said that, while Saddam Hussein currently posed no threat to the Jewish state, he was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

"The international community, with the exception of the United States and Britain, is not acting to block this but lets him out of his cage and allows him to do whatever he wants", Ephraim Sneh said.

Canada, a staunch ally of the US and UK, said it completely supported the bombing.

A foreign ministry spokesman said his country "has supported, since sanctions were imposed on Iraq, all means necessary to ensure that the military forces under the regime of Saddam Hussein do not resume their assaults on the Kurds in the north of Iraq and the Shi'a population".

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17 Feb 01 | Middle East
US and UK planes bomb Baghdad
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