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Germany and France to intensify Iraq inspections

Germany and France want to strengthen and intensify inspection regime in Iraq

Speaking in Berlin on February 10 government spokesman Béla Anda said the core intention of joint proposals being considered by Germany and France is to strengthen and intensify the inspection regime in Iraq in agreement with chief inspectors Blix and El Baradei.

Speaking to journalists in Berlin on February 10 with regard to the current situation in Iraq government spokesman Béla Anda said there is agreement in the international community that Iraq must fully eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. This is reflected by the fact that Resolution 1441 was adopted by a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council. The way to achieve this is through the work being done by UN weapons inspectors with whom Iraq must cooperate fully and proactively. There is a need to optimize the means at their disposal so as to be able to exhaust all possible options in an effort to achieve a peaceful settlement and prevent war. This would mean, and this is the core intention of the joint proposals currently being considered by Germany and France, strengthening and intensifying the inspection regime in agreement with chief inspectors Blix and El Baradei.

Initial proposals in this regard were presented by French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin in a speech he gave at the UN Security Council meeting held on February 5. These proposals are being supported by the German government in the framework of close Franco-German cooperation. They would involve a tripling the number of inspectors as well as beefing up their technical resources for reconnaissance and analysis. In response to the question as to whether the stationing of a UN troop contingent would be needed Anda said this is not an option being considered, since Iraq is required to cooperate fully.

According to statements made by Blix and Baradei after the talks they held in Baghdad on the weekend the inspections are now beginning to show initial progress. As such, there is no need at present for a second UN Security Council resolution legitimizing the use of military force. What is needed, instead, is to continue to strengthen the set of instruments available to the inspectors. This view is taken not just by Germany and France but also by a majority of the members of the Security Council. This was expressly reaffirmed by President Putin Saturday evening after his meeting with Chancellor Schröder.

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