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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 18:27 GMT
UN adopts tough Iraq resolution
Ambassadors from Syria, the UK and the US vote for the resolution
The vote followed eight weeks of negotiation
The UN Security Council has unanimously endorsed a long-awaited resolution designed to force Iraq to give up its weapons of mass destruction.

Next steps
7 days: Iraq must confirm whether it will "comply fully" with the resolution
30 days: Iraq must reveal all programmes, plants and materials which could be used for weapons production
45 days: Inspectors must be allowed to resume their checks
Thereafter, inspectors have 60 days to report back to the Security Council but may report violations earlier
And US President George W Bush has told Iraq it will face "the severest consequences" if it does not comply with the new UN demands.

The chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has said his team will go to Baghdad on 18 November to resume their work, backed by the new, tougher, rules which say they can check any site, including Saddam Hussein's palaces.

The resolution was supported by all 15 Security Council members, including Syria - the only Arab representative - whose request for a delay in the vote had been rejected.

Zero tolerance

President Bush stressed that the vote simply gave the "outlaw regime" of Saddam Hussein one final chance to get rid of his illegal weapons - or the US and its allies would take it upon themselves to disarm Iraq.

President George W Bush with Colin Powell
Mr Bush - backed by Colin Powell - said Iraq could disarm or be disarmed
"His co-operation must be prompt and unconditional, or he will face the severest consequences."

Mr Bush said he would prefer Iraq to meet its obligations voluntarily, but he was "prepared for the alternative".

"In either case, the just demands of the world will be met," he said.

"Iraq can be certain the old game of cheat and retreat... will no longer be tolerated.

"The outcome of the current crisis is already determined. The full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction will occur. The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair echoed Mr Bush in a warning to the Iraqi leader: "Defy the UN's will and we will disarm you by force. Be in no doubt whatever over that."

Intense diplomacy

The adoption of the resolution came after eight weeks of intense negotiation, much of which focused on a French demand that war should not be the automatic result of a failure by Iraq to abide by the resolution.

Painter touches up hanging Saddam portrait in Baghdad
Iraq had urged rejection of the new resolution
French President Jacques Chirac said the vote "offers Iraq a chance to disarm in peace".

"That was the meaning of France's initiative since the start," he said.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also urged Baghdad to seize the opportunity to disarm and "begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people".

The resolution, which gives inspectors "immediate, unimpeded and unconditional" rights to search anywhere in the country for weapons of mass destruction, must be accepted or rejected by Iraq within seven days.

Open in new window : Iraq Weapons
Iraqi chemical and biological weapons

Baghdad's UN Ambassador, Mohammed al-Douri, said he did not yet know what his country's response would be to the demands which he described as "the will of the United States on the rest of the world".

Russia, which had also opposed earlier drafts, said the latest text was the best possible under the circumstances.

Main points of resolution
Iraq has breached UN resolutions
Tough inspection regime to be set up
Baghdad given deadlines to comply
Inspectors to have immediate access to all suspected sites, including palaces
Inspectors to report immediately any Iraqi breaches
Iraq to face "serious consequences" if it continues to violate its obligations

Though there is no requirement for a second resolution to authorise force, further action by the Security Council can only be triggered if the weapons inspectors complain that their work is being hindered.

Correspondents say the changes in earlier drafts were key to the unanimous support - particularly in securing the vote of Syria, which had been expected to abstain.

Syria had said the resolution set conditions Baghdad could never meet, but changed its mind after assurances from the US and Britain that it would not be used as a pretext to attack Iraq.

A BBC correspondent in Damascus says Iraq will probably be furious at the Syrian decision, which could put an end to the smuggling of cheap Iraqi oil through Syria.

The BBC's James Robbins
"The UN has its authority dramatically reasserted"
The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports from Baghdad
"Iraqi TV hasn't even mentioned the resolution"
President George W Bush
"Saddam's compliance with the UN must be prompt and unconditional"
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan
"The road ahead will be difficult and dangerous"

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See also:

09 Nov 02 | Middle East
09 Nov 02 | Middle East
08 Nov 02 | Americas
07 Nov 02 | Americas
08 Nov 02 | Middle East
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