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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 15:02 GMT
Iraq says US plans 'foiled'
Ambassadors from Syria, the UK and the US vote for the resolution
The vote followed eight weeks of negotiation
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has praised the United Nations Security Council for "thwarting" American attempts to use it as a cover to attack Iraq.

Mr Sabri was referring to the new UN resolution on Iraq which calls on Baghdad to give up its alleged weapons of mass destruction, but does not specify the automatic use of force if Iraq fails to comply.

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

The minister said the authorities were studying the UN resolution and "Iraq's position will be announced later".

The resolution, passed unanimously by all 15 members of the Security Council on Thursday, gives Iraq seven days to accept unlimited access for inspectors to suspected weapons sites, including President Saddam Hussein's palaces.

Official Iraqi media have attacked Syria - the Security Council's only Arab member - for giving its approval to what they called an "unnecessary" document.

A newspaper owned by Uday - elder son of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein - compared Damascus to Brutus for having stabbed Iraq in the back.

But on Saturday, Syria defended its decision to support the resolution "convinced that a vote in favour of the Security Council resolution would avoid a military attack on Iraq," state radio reported.

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

Russia - which is also opposed to US military intervention in Iraq - said the resolution had "averted a real war threat and opened the way for further political-diplomatic efforts to settle the Iraqi situation".

'American aggression'

The Iraqi foreign minister gave his statement - the first official reaction since the vote - in Cairo, after meeting his Egyptian counterpart ahead of this weekend's Arab League meeting.

Dr Hans Blix
Blix: "No cat-and-mouse play"

Mr Sabri said the resolution showed that the international community did not share the "unlimited appetite of the evil American administration for aggression, killing and destruction".

"America's aggressive goal of using the Security Council as a cover for an aggression on Iraq was thwarted by the international community," he said.

However, the BBC Caroline Hawley, reporting from Baghdad, says the fact that the government is considering the resolution is the clearest indication yet that Saddam Hussein is preparing to accept the UN ultimatum.

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

The chief UN inspector has said his team will go to Iraq on 18 November to resume their work.

Dr Blix told the BBC that there was a new determination, far greater than when inspections first started in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.

"This time there is no such readiness to show tolerance, there is no readiness to accept any cat-and-mouse play," he said

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

The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad
"Iraq knows how high the stakes are"
Editor of Al Quds, Abdul Bari Atwan
"Saddam Hussein is in the most difficult position of his life"
Middle East writer Dilap Hiro
"Whatever the people are suffering, for that they have to blame America"

Key stories





See also:

09 Nov 02 | Media reports
09 Nov 02 | Europe
08 Nov 02 | Americas
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