Baghdad, Sept. 28 (Reuters): Iraq today rejected a US-sponsored draft resolution on arms inspections as President George W. Bush’s drive against Baghdad hit snags after a week of lobbying at home and abroad.
Iraq threatened a “fierce war” if attacked and dismissed the US-proposed resolution, backed by Britain, requiring Baghdad to comply with tough new arms inspection rules or face military action.
Iraq’s defiant rejection came amid a US and British diplomatic campaign to persuade other permanent members of the UN Security Council — France, Russia and China — to overcome grave concerns and back the proposal designed to rid Iraq of any nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Iraq would not accept extra measures contained in the draft resolution, which gives Iraq one week to accept demands to disarm and 30 days to declare all its weapons of mass destruction programmes.
“The stance from the inspectors has been decided and any additional procedure that aims at harming Iraq won’t be accepted,” Ramadan told reporters.
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz warned that the United States would sustain huge losses if it attacked Iraq and that his country would fight a“fierce war”.
Bush, whose avowed policy of “regime change” in Iraq means toppling President Saddam Hussein, has pledged to act without UN approval if necessary. Today, he made a pitch in his weekly radio broadcast to Americans, saying Iraq posed a grave threat that must be stopped.
“The danger to our country is grave and it is growing,” he said.
“The dangers we face will only worsen from month to month and year to year. To ignore these threats is to encourage them — and when they have fully materialised, it may be too late to protect ourselves and our allies,” he said.
Seeking to press the US case, undersecretary of state for political affairs Marc Grossman met Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov in Moscow today. He failed to change Russia’s stance.
Moscow stood firm in calling for the rapid return to Iraq of UN arms inspectors, with the US envoy urging Russia to back the draft US Security Council resolution. “Our position is that UN weapons inspectors should return to Iraq as quickly as possible,” Ivanov said. “The necessary conditions for this exist. But we are prepared to look carefully at the position of all the members of the UN Security Council.”