U.S. official to Israel: We'll deal with Syria, Iran after Iraq war
By Aluf Benn and Sharon Sadeh
Haaretz - 17 Feb 2003:
U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials on Monday that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards.
Bolton, who is undersecretary for arms control and international security, is in Israel for meetings about preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
In a meeting with Bolton on Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel is concerned about the security threat posed by Iran. It's important to deal with Iran even while American attention is turned toward Iraq, Sharon said.
Bolton also met with Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Housing and Construction Minister Natan Sharansky.
EU draft statement calls force a last resort
A draft statement prepared for a European Union summit on Monday said that UN weapons inspections cannot continue indefinitely in Iraq without cooperation, but that force should only be used as a last resort.
Speaking at a news conference after addressing the summit, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Baghdad to choose compliance with disarmament over confrontation with the international community, and said that any use of force without a UN mandate would undermine the legitimacy of the Security Council and diminish support for military action.
In addition, Annan said that Western nations should avoid turning on each other over Iraq. At the summit, France insisted that it would try to block any imminent U.S. attack on Baghdad while Britain called for a swift deadline for action.
French President Jacques Chirac said France would oppose any effort to draft a new UN resolution authorizing war at this time. France, Germany and others say Iraq can be disarmed peacefully and must be given time.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said time was running out and the EU must set limits on how much longer it will allow Iraq to remain defiant.
Spain and Italy have also expressed support for the United States, which advocates imminent military measures.
The United Nations "set out very clearly that this was the final opportunity for Iraq to comply," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said earlier. "That involves hard decisions for everyone across Europe. It is only by fighting tyranny that we are able to enjoy the freedoms that we do."
But the EU negotiations are not just about whether military action is a necessary step to take against Iraq.
"We all know that this is about the matter of Iraq," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said. "But it's also about the matter of Europe."