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US looking for war, says Iraq

Baghdad, Oct. 23 (Reuters): Iraq accused the United States today of wanting war — with or without the backing of the United Nations Security Council.

The United States and Britain tried yesterday to get France, Russia and China to back a Security Council resolution against Iraq but predicted the process would be “messy”.

Baghdad’s official al-Thawra daily newspaper called this a wasted effort since, it said, Washington had made up its mind.

“There is no need for the Security Council to adopt a new resolution, particularly after it has become clear to everybody that the objective of the US administration is not to assert that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction or dismantle the arms it claims Iraq has.

“The US objective is to find a new pretext to launch its aggression on Iraq after all its other pretexts failed, and to try to find a fake international cover for this aggression,” the paper declared in a front-page editorial.

The United States accuses Iraq of developing weapons of mass destruction — a charge Baghdad denies.

Washington has been pushing for a tough new UN resolution on weapons inspections, backed by the threat of force, but fellow Security Council members have held out for a more measured initiative.

Russia and France, two of the five veto-wielding permanent Security Council members, said after two meetings yesterday the council was nowhere near agreeing how to disarm Iraq, amid growing impatience in Washington over the stalemate.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters: “It is coming down to the end. The United Nations does not have forever, and we’ll continue to work it and see when we get an agreement.”

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