Have France and Germany overreached? In a fascinating move, the leaders of eight European countries (Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic) have co-signed an article in the London Times warning that transatlantic co-operation must not become a victim of the current crisis and making clear that, in their view, the Blix report confirms Saddam’s long-established pattern of “deception, denial and non-compliance”.
The Times takes up the story:
“In what appears to be a reminder to M Chirac and Herr Schröder, [the leaders of the eight] say that “we Europeans” had reiterated backing for Resolution 1441 and the wish to pursue the UN route at both the Prague Nato summit and the Copenhagen European Council. In doing so, they sent an unequivocal message that they would rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam’s deadly weapons.
“We must remain united in insisting that his regime is disarmed,” they write. “The solidarity, cohesion and determination of the international community are our best hope of achieving this peacefully.” They say the resolution is Saddam’s last chance to disarm peacefully and tell the Security Council that its task is to preserve international peace and security. To do so it must maintain its credibility by ensuring full compliance with its resolutions.
“We cannot allow a dictator systematically to violate these resolutions. If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result. We are confident the Security Council will face up to its responsibilities.”
The article, the Times notes, “is likely to infuriate France and Germany.”