- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

BERLIN, Jan. 14 (UPI) — German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday said Germany would call for another U.N. Security Council resolution before any military strike on Iraq.

Addressing a news conference in Berlin, Schroeder said Germany would work with its allies in the 15-member Security Council to try to get a second vote before military action against Iraq was launched.

"It is likely that the European partners and also others will work toward a second decision and I also think that is sensible," he said.

Germany joined the U.N. Security Council a few days ago as one its non-permanent members, and Schroeder's opposition to the war on Iraq is well known. He reiterated that position Tuesday, saying Germany would make "unmistakably" clear to the Security Council its opposition to war and its unwillingness to participate. So far, Schroeder has not made it known whether Germany would vote for or against military action in the event of the Security Council seeking another vote.

Urging Iraq to comply with U.N. Resolution 1441 to avoid a conflict, he said if another decision were taken, Germany would make its basic position clear: "It will not take part in a war."

Germany is attempting to bring the European nations together to form a common position on Iraq. Berlin hopes that except for Britain, which is unlikely to accept the German position, other European countries could be influenced.

U.S. officials at the United Nations told United Press International they did not yet have comment on Schroeder's statements. But National Security Council Spokesman Sean McCormack in Washington said that under resolution 1441 "serious violations and material breaches obligates member states to consult. Obviously, we will," but the United States would not agree to anything that "ties the president's hands in defending the national security of America."

A British diplomat said, "Our first preference has been the disarmament of Iraq, and we hope to achieve it peacefully. But if we need a second resolution, we hope the council members will be prepared to take the necessary action."

A French official told UPI that "we cannot say at this stage we need a second resolution or not," explaining the decision depends on the U.N. inspectors' report. Inspections chief Hans Blix is expected to summarize the investigation's progress in Iraq before the Security Council on Jan. 27.

The United States and its allies have downplayed the importance of the Jan. 27 report in the last week, following comments from Blix and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, that the inspectors have not yet found conclusive evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

Blix himself has now cast his presentation as more of a progress report than the definitive statement that many observers interpreted from Resolution 1441. For example, Blix said Monday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Co., "The resolution that was adopted last autumn in November did not set any particular end of the work."

When asked Tuesday about the need for a second resolution, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan replied, "I think that that has been envisaged within Resolution 1441, that the council will take the matter up a second time to discuss the question of Iraq. If the inspectors inform the council either that Iraq is not cooperating or they have found weapons, if that is the case the Security Council is to discuss the matter again, it will take the necessary decision."

When pressed further with the question, "In your view do you believe that there is going to be a second Security Council meeting, there is in point of fact going to be a second Security Council resolution?" the secretary-general said, "In point of fact, I think we can have a second resolution. The council will take a decision on this very pressing matter."

Schroeder is scheduled to meet French President Jacques Chirac Tuesday night for regular talks, and French sources at the United Nations said they expect a joint statement from the two presidents.

France is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council that have veto power. The others are the United States, Russia, China and Britain.

Schroeder's anti-war stance is popular among Germans and is believed to have helped his ruling Social Democrat-led coalition win the parliamentary election albeit with a narrow margin. But since then, Germany has agreed to allow U.S. and NATO forces to use its bases in the event of a war.

Riding the popular wave, the 58-year-old Schroeder indicated at the news conference he might consider running for the post for a third time. Four years ago, he had said he would not like to go beyond two terms. But on Tuesday, he said he had not decided about the third. He will remain chancellor until 2006.

"If the opposition annoys me a lot then I will punish them by running again," Schroeder said.

(Reported by Ravi R. Prasad in Cologne, Germany. William M. Reilly contributed from the United Nations and Rick Tomkins from Washington.)





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