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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 15:05 GMT
World urges Iraq to comply
An Iraqi woman walks past portraits of Saddam Hussein
Actions are more important than words, leaders say
International leaders have called on Iraq to stick to the terms of a United Nations resolution demanding the country provide complete access to all suspected weapons' sites.


France... now expects Iraq's full and complete co-operation with the United Nations

French Foreign Minister
Dominique de Villepin

While welcoming Baghdad's acceptance of the resolution, officials from nations on the UN Security Council as well as Iraq's neighbours said nothing had yet been solved.

Iraq sent a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan saying it would "deal" with the resolution passed unanimously in the Security Council last week that all weapons of mass destruction must be declared and inspected.

But while the text of the letter sparked speculation that Iraq might later challenge the legality of the inspections, world leaders said Saddam Hussein's regime had to do all it could to work with the team.

Dominique de Villepin, Foreign Minister of Security Council permanent member France, said: "France takes note of this acceptance... and now expects Iraq's full and complete co-operation with the United Nations."

China, which with France and Russia had raised concerns about earlier US drafts of the UN proposal, said it hoped the resolution could now be implemented.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said: "The UN weapons inspectors will return to Iraq and resume their work as soon as possible, so that the issue can be solved as soon as possible under the UN framework."

'Saddam's choice'

A spokesman for US President George W Bush - who has issued strident warnings to Iraq to disarm or be disarmed by force - said the Iraqi president had made similar promises before only to break them.


The issue is not the acceptance, but the performance on the ground

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
"We've heard this before from Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime. Now we need to see it by Saddam Hussein's actions," said Scott McClellan.

"The onus continues to be on Saddam Hussein. This is his choice."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan echoed the view of the Security Council's permanent members.

"The issue is not the acceptance, but the performance on the ground," he said.

"I urge the Iraqis to co-operate with [inspectors] and to perform."

'Spectre of war' recedes

Syria - whose UN vote in favour of inspections outraged Iraq - stressed it would oppose any descent into conflict.

President Bashar al-Assad and his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, agreed during a phone conversation that Iraq's decision "pushed back the spectre of war," Syrian state news agency Sana reported.

An F-14 Tomcat takes off in the Gulf
Qatar - which could host the US war HQ - wants inspectors to avoid any provocation
Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa said Syrian troops would not support any attack against Baghdad led by the US.

"Any strike on Iraq outside the framework of the United Nations, even with the formation of an international alliance or coalition under the leadership of the United States, we will absolutely not be a part of," he said.

Another of Iraq's neighbours, Iran, praised Baghdad but urged it to do more.

"From now on, Iraq must co-operate with UN inspectors in order to avoid a war in the region and not give the US a pretext to start a war," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

Qatar also urged all sides to work together.

"Co-operate to settle all outstanding problems in a peaceful way as a prelude to the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq and to put an end to the suffering of the people," the government said in a statement carried by the official QNA news agency.

The government - which allows the US to set up military bases on its territory - also called on the inspectors to be "open and neutral, to avoid any acts of provocation and prove their credibility".

Terror threat

Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia, which is largely Muslim, meanwhile warned that the threat of war had not passed.

He said he suspected the US could make other accusations against Baghdad to justify military action, the official Bernama news agency reported.

Such a move would "simply anger more Muslims and there'll be more recruited for the terrorist groups, that is why we oppose military action", he said.


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14 Nov 02 | Middle East
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