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Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 10:53 GMT
Arab press welcomes Blix report
Watching Hans Blix deliver his report
The Blix report to the UN was the centre of attention
There were initial signs of a warm welcome in the Arab world to the reports by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei to the UN Security Council on Friday.

Those newspapers in the region which were quickest off the mark in reacting to the events in New York highlighted the open divisions within the Security Council.

Others saw the reaction to the two reports as a major setback for the US, but some took a gloomier view of the chances for a peaceful outcome to the crisis.

'Extreme satisfaction'

The Baghdad correspondent of the Jordanian newspaper, Al-Arab al-Yawm, reported that "official and popular quarters in Iraq received the reports by Blix and ElBaradei at the Security Council with extreme satisfaction."

Blix report 'fair to Iraq'

Baghdad University professor Zafir al-Ani

"These quarters expressed their satisfaction with the increasing international rejection of war and admitting Iraq's co-operation with the inspectors," the paper said.

"Many officials expressed satisfaction with the moderate reports and the stand of the European countries."

'Peace camp' on a roll

"The camp of peace appeared strong and confident as it represented the stand and the conscience of the majority of the world," wrote Jordan's Al-Ra'y.

'War camp'... confused, isolated

Jordan's Al-Ra'y
As for "the camp of war", "it appeared confused, isolated, and incapable of justifying its logic, which calls for using military force."

"This camp, in fact, could not present any convincing reason on any material breach by Iraq that requires waging war and, thus, placing the world before a horrible disaster." "The ball is now in Washington's court."

Another Jordanian paper, Al-Dustur, noted that despite what it saw as the positive tone of the two reports, the US and UK had insisted on "seeing the glass half-empty".

Backing from the Gulf

In the Gulf, Qatar's Al-Rayah said that the Security Council on Friday had provided "a new and strong element to support the international front that opposes war and that calls for giving the inspectors more time to fulfil their work."

Another defeat for America's war-mongering policy

Iranian radio commentator

Bahrain's Al-Ayyam noted that the two reports had indicated that Iraq was co-operating with the inspection teams. It said the methods pursued by the United States and "its allies and lackeys" would encourage terrorism in the world, particularly "in the countries that will take part in the aggression".

Elsewhere, a commentator on Iranian radio said the twin reports constituted "another defeat for America's warmongering policy against Iraq".

"The peaceful resolution of the crisis - supported strongly by the world public opinion - is still the first priority of the world community," he said.

The two reports "did not make America and Britain happy", the moderate Tehran paper Iranadded.

Warning

In Syria, under the banner headline, "Blix and Al-Baradi'i Underscore Iraq's Co-operation", the newspaper Tishrin wrote that "against the backdrop of the world opposition to US policies, the position of the UNSC, with its permanent and nonpermanent members, emerges".

General inclination is still towards war

Lebanon's Al-Nahar
"It is worth noting that after three months of searches, these teams came up with the conclusion that there are no proscribed weapons in Iraq."

But commentators for Lebanon's Al-Nahar were less sanguine about the eventual outcome. While the opponents of war "can now breathe a sigh of relief for a while, the general inclination is still towards war," one wrote.

Another writer in the same paper thought the chances of resolving the Iraqi crisis by peaceful means "are getting slimmer day by day, if not hour by hour".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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14 Feb 03 | Media reports
12 Feb 03 | Media reports
14 Feb 03 | Middle East
04 Feb 03 | Media reports
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