Early this morning, two plans were presented to the United Nations Security Council, as confirmed by the President of this organism, the German Ambassador, Gunter Pleuger.
The first was presented by the Russian Federation, Germany and France, calling for a continuation of the inspections by the UN teams, while a counter-proposal sponsored by Spain, the UK and the USA calling for the “serious consequences” of Resolution 1441 to be applied if Iraq was seen as being in material breach of this agreement.
The UNSC has five permanent members with the right to veto (The Russian Federation, China, France the UK and the USA) and a further ten temporary members (currently Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroons, Chile, Germany, Guinea Conakry, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain and Syria). Nine votes are needed for a resolution to become binding.
At present, Spain and Bulgaria are clearly in the hawks’ camp (the USA and the UK) while Germany and Syria will certainly vote against a belligerent proposal. If the hawks can gain the nine votes needed, they hope that Russia and France will abstain, rather than use their right of veto, which would entail immense pressure from the financial and trading lobbies involved in the Bush administration.
The text presented by the UK states that “Iraq remains in material breach” of the terms of Resolution 1441 and gives Baghdad a last chance to comply, a position backed up by US Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, who stated that “We have not seen what this Council has insisted on seeing, a strategic decision by Iraq to disarm.”
The document presented by France declares that there are no grounds for force to be used against Iraq because there is no evidence that this country has Weapons of Mass Destruction. The text calls for a “real chance to the peaceful settlement of the crisis” to be given by the Security Council. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière stated that “Our common goal, which is a goal very clearly identified in resolution 1441, is that Iraq should be disarmed…and it is very clear that the priority is that Iraq should be disarmed peacefully.”
The Russian Ambassador to the UNO, Sergei Lavrov, said that there is still room for a peaceful disarming of Iraq: “We are convinced, on the contrary, that the inspections are proceeding effectively and that Iraq is responding to the demands of the international community and to the pressure exerted on it,” he said. “We think that this should continue on the basis of the unity of the Council, which we very strongly support.”
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia