BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 12:39 GMT
Straw optimistic on UN resolution
UN Security Council
The Security Council is still deeply divided on Iraq
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he is optimistic about the prospect of securing a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq.


I know that the progress has been slow, for sure, but it has genuinely been constructive

Jack Straw
Mr Straw said there had been a genuine "meeting of minds" among the members of the UN security council on the issue.

And although progress had been "slow" towards a resolution backing the desire to disarm Saddam Hussein with the threat of force, Mr Straw said he was confident of securing a "positive" outcome.

Chancellor Gordon Brown has signalled he is building the possibility of war with Iraq into his Budget plans next month.

Mr Straw's optimism about a UN resolution are in contrast to signals coming from Washington, where patience with efforts to get France and Russia to sign up to a new resolution appears to be running out.

Threat of force

The United Nations' chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has flown to Washington, where he is expected to meet US Vice-President Dick Cheney and other senior administration officials.

They will discuss a draft UN resolution sponsored by the US and Britain, which threatens Iraq with "serious consequences" if it fails to co-operate with arms inspections.

France and Russia oppose any language that could be interpreted as authorising automatic military action.

The UN Security Council is due to resume discussions on the draft later on Wednesday.

'Going it alone'

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said there would have to be a decision on a new UN resolution "in the very near future".

Hans Blix
Hans Blix says some sort of pressure on Iraq is needed

BBC News has been told Washington is not ruling out the possibility that a vote on a resolution may not now take place until next week - after the mid-term elections on 5 November.

Meanwhile, Jack Straw repeated his assertion that the UK would be prepared to back the US, if it decided to "go it alone" against Iraq.

'Preferable outcome'

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Straw said: "We don't rule that out."

But he added: "It is the UN that as a whole has been defied by Iraq and it is the UN, therefore, which has a responsibility to deal with that.

"If they fail to in their responsibility, then others may have to take up that responsibility in their place."

Mr Straw said "the preferable outcome" was for the UN to agree to a new tough resolution giving power to weapons inspectors.

'Slow progress'

He said the inspectors had to be allowed to "inspect and remove" the "weapons of mass destruction which we know Saddam Hussein has", and to back that by "credible use of force".

Mr Straw added: "I know that the progress has been slow, for sure, but it has genuinely been constructive.

"And I think - I can't be certain about this, you never can at this stage in negotiations - I think that the final outcome will be a good one."

He said when the "history of the last eight weeks" was written people would see there had been a "genuine meeting of minds" between the five members of the UN Security Council.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Matthew Taylor has asked Chancellor Gordon Brown to release the Treasury's prediction of how an Iraq war could affect the UK economy.

In his reply, Mr Brown said the Treasury would update its predictions about the economy and public finances in the pre-Budget statement, expected next month.

"These projections will of course take into account all available information, including that relating to the global economy and oil prices, and include a full assessment of the risks to outlook," said Mr Brown.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Peter Biles
"It doesn't look as if we're heading towards a quick speedy vote on the resolution"
BBC correspondent David Bamford
"The Bush administration does not want to take any risk on this vote"
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
"The preferable outcome would be for the UN to agree to a new tough resolution"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Oct 02 | Middle East
19 Sep 02 | Europe
29 Oct 02 | Middle East
28 Oct 02 | Americas
27 Oct 02 | Americas
23 Oct 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes