No Military Action Against Iraq Without UN Resolution
Updated on 2003-02-19 11:25:10
LONDON, United Kingdom: Feb 19 (PNS)- British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday disarmament of Iraq would happen one way or the other but military action against Iraq would be taken after a 2nd UN Security Council's resolution.
Speaking at his regular monthly briefing at 10-Downing Street he said it was Saddam's choice how he wanted it to happen as "we have made our choice". If it is not through peaceful means it will have to be achieved by use of force with UN mandate.
Blair refused to speculate on timing of a 2nd UN Security Resolution on Iraq but said "I want a second resolution if we go to military action. This is what I believe , this is what is right".
Fielding a question about one of the biggest anti-war demonstration in London on Saturday, Blair said he understood the concerns of the marchers. But he asked them to also listen to "voices of 4 million Iraqi exiles" who were subjected to human rights abuses by Iraqi regime and were even afraid of speaking here against it.
Iraqi exiles would like the world to take action against Iraq even on the basis of human rights abuses but that was not possible as "the basis of our action has to be UN mandate".
He said if one asked Britons if they favoured action against Iraq following adoption of second UN resolution, they would support it.
Blair said most people went to demonstrate on Saturday as they were more worried about the consequences of war. He said every effort would be made to avoid sufferings of the people but said no war is painless. However he categorically said that "we are not actually at war" so the question of stopping it did not arise.
To another question he said, "The time the inspectors need, definite amount of time, if they are given full co-operation , they can take as much time as they want," it can take them weeks, months or years.
" That is fine. That is what Saddam's obligations is. If however he is not giving them full cooperation then the judgement is how long you need to stay in there, before you make the judgement, that is the repeat of 1990s rather than a change of a heart," in Baghdad, he said.
Saddam, Blair said had denied existence of biological weapons programme but when beans were spilled by his exiling son -in- law in Jordan, he admitted the existence of such a programme. Later Iraq co-operated to partially shut that programme down.
Blair said if there was "not genuine change of heart" in Baghdad there was no point keeping weapons inspectors there indefinitely as they would not be able to do their work to ensure disarmament of Iraqi regime of its WMD.
But currently he was not co-operating with UN inspectors. Saddam' s "cooperation with UN weapons inspectors is "neither unconditional nor complete", said Blair.
Blair said UK was absolutely committed to the territorial integrity of Iraq.
Tony Blair said Weapons of Mass Destruction in hands of Saddam Hussein" are more dangerous" and he continued to be in material breach of the UN resolution 1441 which gave him final chance to eliminate Weapons of Mass Destruction.
To a question on the Middle East Blair said he was committed to "to push forward that process".
"I am committed to that process. I believe it is possible to move this process forward" on the basis of two states solution, Israel and a viable Palestinian state.
He said the US also sincerely wanted to take this process forward and George Bush was the first American leader who had supported the idea of two states solution in the Middle East.