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Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 16:07 GMT
US 'winning over' allies over Iraq
Colin Powell
Powell spoke of Iraq's "policy of evasion"

The world's media have given US Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation at the United Nations a lukewarm reception.

Many countries are still against war, but it has become much harder for them to argue against Colin Powell's message

No Security Council member not already in the US camp has publicly shifted into it since Mr Powell's presentation

But Washington has turned up the heat on its allies, and is having some success.

After his presentation, Mr Powell held private meetings with other members of the Security Council.

Open in new window : Who backs war?
Where key nations stand on Iraq

US officials claimed that at least two waverers, Chile and Angola, were coming round to Washington's viewpoint.

In public, most of the rest are still against an early second resolution leading to military action.

'Ground is shifting'

Iraq has sought to dismiss the mass of evidence in the US dossier.

Current Security Council
UN Security Council
For military action: United States, United Kingdom, Spain and Bulgaria
Sceptics or opposed: France, Russia, China, Germany and Syria
In doubt: Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan
Nine votes and no veto required to pass a resolution

Opinion in the Arab world remains feverishly opposed to war.

But reactions from many allies and friends of the US show that the ground is shifting.

In Europe, antagonism to US policy shows signs of fading.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, says Mr Powell's report was "very solid". For Saddam Hussein, Mr Solana now says, "time is very short".

Ten central and eastern European states, from Estonia to Albania, put out a clear-cut statement of support for the US.

If Iraq continues to defy the will of the UN, they say they will be ready to join in an international coalition to enforce its disarmament.

Arms twisting

France, which has hinted it might veto a resolution authorising war, has changed its tone.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin
France still says inspectors should be given more time

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has started talking about "the Iraqi risk".

He says the use of force is a last resort, but France does not exclude any possibility.

The German Government still says it will not support a war.

But its leaders say that war may no longer be avoidable. And the US is twisting their arms hard.

The US Ambassador to Berlin, Daniel Coats, has made clear this is a crucial test of Germany's loyalty to the Nato alliance.

The government's stance has raised "serious doubts" about Germany's reliability, Mr Coats said.

Blatant message

Another major test has taken place at a meeting of Nato ambassadors in Brussels.

Nato has delayed a decision on plans to strengthen the defences of Turkey in case of hostilities across its border with Iraq.

The Alliance has now agreed that the deployment to Turkey will go ahead from Monday unless any ally raises a new objection before then.

Mr Powell's report did not convince all doubters, but it sharply increased the pressure on Iraq to come clean about its suspected arsenal of illegal weapons.

Mr Powell presented new claims that Iraq has links with terrorist groups that are seeking to attack targets in many European countries, including France, Britain, Spain, Italy and Russia.

Many countries are still against war.

But it has become much harder for them to argue against Colin Powell's message - that Iraq is not disarming itself, so it should be disarmed by force.


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06 Feb 03 | Middle East
06 Feb 03 | Middle East
05 Feb 03 | Americas
04 Feb 03 | Middle East
05 Feb 03 | Middle East
06 Feb 03 | Europe
06 Feb 03 | Media reports
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