France Faces Consequences for Opposing Iraq War, Says Powell
VOA News - 23 Apr 2003
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has indicated that France will face consequences for its opposition to the war in Iraq. Speaking in an American television interview with the Charlie Rose show on PBS Tuesday, Mr. Powell said the Bush administration will have to look at all aspects of Washington's relations with Paris in the light of France's position on Iraq. But he did not elaborate.
France, responding to Mr. Powell's comments, said Wednesday it will continue to defend international law "in all circumstances." France Tuesday called for the immediate suspension of United Nations sanctions against Iraq and also proposed the U.N.-supervised Oil-for-Food program for Iraq should be phased out. The French proposal calls for keeping the arms embargo against Iraq in place, but immediately lifting the 12-year-old ban on trade and investment.
President Bush has also called for lifting sanctions against Iraq. A White House spokesman said Mr. Bush believes the ban no longer serves a useful purpose since the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein is no longer in control of the country.
However, Russia says U.N. inspectors should certify that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction before sanctions are lifted. Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday his team is ready to go back to Iraq to verify the discovery of any weapons of mass destruction and their elimination. Mr. Blix says only the U.N. team has the credibility the international community demands for the job.
The United States says the U.S.-led coalition has taken over the responsibility of disarming Iraq.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.