19 February 1998
(Released by the U.S. Department of State Feb. 17) (1820) (The following compilation of statements by European leaders supporting the U.S. position on Iraq was prepared by the Department of State and released February 17, 1998.) BALTIC STATES Joint statements of the Presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: "We believe that strict compliance with international commitments, including United Nations resolutions, is an uncontested obligation of every country of the world community. "We unequivocally support the United Nations resolution of destroying chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. The United Nations Special Commission should be allowed to continue its work without any limitations. "We believe all diplomatic avenues should be exhausted to solve the current crises, but we also support other actions of the international coalition that are necessary to guarantee compliance of Iraq with its international commitments and demolition of weapons of mass destruction. "The Baltic States are ready, if necessary, within their means to provide support to the international coalition to ensure implementation of United Nations resolutions." BELGIUM Foreign Minister Erik Derycke spoke in favor of a settlement of the crisis between the United Nations and Iraq by diplomatic rather than military means. He called on the United Nations to take initiatives in this direction. He pointed out that full responsibility for the present crisis lay with Iraq. However, he stressed that during the present "interim" situation all diplomatic initiatives must be supported. He expressed the hope that Great Britain and the United States will go back to the UN Security Council to heat the opinion of other Security Council members. If these initiatives fail, the use of force should not be ruled out as an ultimate solution to make the Iraqi government give way. "The Iraqi situation is very different from what it was in 1991 when there was a war involving the international community as a result of the invasion of Kuwait, a war conducted in accordance with a UNSC resolution. "In the present situation, Belgium will asses requests as they are made. As a member of NATO it has obligations, but no requests have been made at that level either." CANADA 1) Prime Minister Chretien told Parliament on February 9 that, "If we do not act, if we do not stand up to Saddam, that will encourage him to commit other atrocities." He continued that "the choice is clear (for Canada). It is a choice dictated by the responsibilities of international citizenship, by the demands of international security and an understanding of the history of the world in this century." 2) Defense Minister Eggleton explained that although Saddam says he does not have chemical or biological weapons, the UN believes otherwise. As such, Eggleton prefers, "to believe the UN and its multilateral inspection team. Saddam Hussein has shown in the past that we cannot trust his word." On Feb. 10, Eggleton said that if a number of countries join the US-led military coalition, "this might be enough for Saddam Hussein to back off and to comply with UN resolutions." 3) Foreign Minister Axworthy at the UN Feb. 11 told reporters that "This whole thing could be solved in 10 seconds if Saddam Hussein lives up to the commitments made in 1991." EUROPEAN COMMISSION President Jacques Santer: "Iraq must execute in an unconditional manner all the UN resolutions" or face "grave consequences." FRANCE Office of the French President Jacques Chirac: "France repeats that Iraq must scrupulously respect all the UN Security Council resolutions. This is the only route that could enable Iraq to be readmitted, when the time comes, into the international community. The President of the Republic made this clear to the Iraqi Foreign Minister. He stressed "the extremely grave risks that will result from a refusal by Iraq to accept the inspection of the 'presidential sites.' Now time is running out." GERMANY Mr. Rudolf Scharping, Chairman of the SPD Bundestag Group: "I would like to state the central issues once again. First, there is only one individual who bears the responsibility for the current confrontation with the United Nations, and that is Saddam Hussein. Second, he has to see to it that Iraq satisfies all the UN resolutions. Third, every possible political effort has to be made to arrive at a peaceful solution. Fourth, the danger posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction is a matter that no one can view with indifference, and that is the case for all the other states in the region, especially Israel, as well as for the Europeans and the Americans. (applause) That is why Iraq should stop refusing to cooperate, and if all the political efforts that are being made do not result in success, a military operation cannot and should not be ruled out in this case. (applause) The United States and Great Britain can absolutely count on German solidarity." Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel: "Incidentally, I believe that we Germans in particular have good reason to work toward preventing a dictator from causing something terrible yet again. There was one dictator who was stopped too late. This one has to be stopped in good time. (applause) "I personally pin hopes on Russia, Turkey, and France. At the moment, if anyone has the connections making it possible to help, it is undoubtedly these three countries. I hope it still proves possible to arrive at a diplomatic solution. "We are maintaining intensive contact with the United States and with our partners and friends in the EU. However, our experience of Saddam Hussein to date, and I believe that this is also of key importance, shows that, unfortunately, he is only prepared to observe UN Security Council resolution when he is under pressure. The international community cannot simply accept always being made a fool of. That is why the military option must remain available. He who wants a peaceful solution in particular cannot waver in this regard." LITHUANIA Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Political Director Usackas: "The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry condemns the refusal of (the) Iraqi leadership to comply with resolutions by the United Nations Security Council and allow UN weapons inspectors in to objects that are thought to contain weapons of mass destruction." THE NETHERLANDS Prime Minister Kok: "We all know how Saddam Hussein operates. We know that the diplomatic-political channel should be matched with the threat of sanctions and pressure.... We cannot wait indefinitely until Saddam Hussein is finally again brought to reason. We must exert pressure." NORWAY Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek: "Compliance with a binding resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council must be an absolute requirement. Norway has on a number of occasions strongly deplored the lack of willingness on the part of Iraq to fulfill its obligations and cooperate with UNSCOM. The government considers it important that respect for the Security Council as a guarantor of international peace and security is maintained." "If attempts at a peaceful solution are not successful, and military action should be taken against Iraq, the government considers that, taking everything into account, such action can be justified within the framework of the Security Council's resolutions. The international community has the right to ensure that Iraq complies with UN resolutions." SPAIN President Aznar: "This is the Spanish position. This crisis will be solved if Iraq's government clearly complies with its obligation and does the right thing. If not, the duty of the Spanish government is to let it be known that other means might be used -- a possibility we do not look forward to. But if these other means are finally used, Spain, I repeat, will obviously live up to its commitments and side with its partners and allies." SWEDEN Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallen: "The government hereby warns that the United Nations will take firm, unanimous action in Iraq. The resolutions passed by the Security Council have to be respected, and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated." UNITED KINGDOM Prime Minister Blair at the White House Joint Press Conference with President Clinton on Friday, February 6, 1998: "And what we agreed was that we had to do three things in particular. We have first of all to make sure that our own public opinion was properly educated as to why it's so essential that the UN inspectors are able to do their work, the amount of weapons that they have already uncovered in the six or seven years that they have been doing this task, and why it is therefore absolutely essential that Saddam Hussein is brought back into line with UN Security Council resolutions and the inspectors can go about their tasks unhindered. "Secondly, though, in relation to Iraq, it is important that we stress all the time, of course we want a diplomatic solution, but it must be a diplomatic solution based on and fully consistent with the principles that we have set out. The question of whether there is such a diplomatic solution rests ultimately with Saddam Hussein. He has the choice. He can bring himself back into compliance with the agreements he entered into, and then that diplomatic solution can be fulfilled. "Thirdly, however, we have of course to prepare in case diplomacy cannot work. In view of the situation, we in Britain have been looking at our own military readiness in case a diplomatic solution does not in the end prove possible. We have decided to base eight Tornado GR-1 aircraft in Kuwait, with the full agreement of the government of Kuwait. "Remember, he agreed -- he undertook to destroy any weapons of mass destruction capability, whether nuclear, chemical, or biological. Now he's in breach of that. We've got to make sure he complies one way or another with it." Foreign Secretary Cook: Cook said that Kofi Annan has got to go to Iraq with two things. "First of all, he has to go with the message that Saddam must carry out the undertakings which he himself actually signed up to do, namely to allow the UN inspectors to carry out their work without obstruction, without refusal to get into certain sites, without any no-go areas. "... Secondly, he has got to go with the clear understanding of what would be an acceptable outcome to the Security Council." "... We are proposing a precise, specific military strike to carry out by military means what Saddam is currently preventing us from doing through the UN inspection regime, namely to destroy his chemical and his biological weapons. But ... we would prefer a diplomatic solution." Doorstep interview with UK Foreign Secretary Cook and Mr. Salman Rushdie in London: "We have always stressed that we want to explore all diplomatic avenues before any military action is taken, and we are very supportive of the idea that Kofi Annan should visit Baghdad, provided we are clear that Baghdad will treat him seriously...; the objective must be effective inspection by UNSCOM that stops Saddam Hussein (from) acquiring chemical and biological weapons."