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The World | SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

Excerpts From the U.N. Discussions

DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN, Foreign minister of France

March 08, 2003

The military agenda must not dictate the calendar of inspections. We cannot accept an ultimatum as long as inspectors are reporting cooperation.

Why choose division when our unity and resolve are leading Iraq to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction?

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Behind [British Foreign Minister Jack Straw's] presentation there is the idea of an ultimatum, the 17th of March. This is the logic of war. We don't accept this logic.

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By imposing a deadline of only a few days, would we merely be seeking a pretext for war? As a permanent member of the Security Council, I will say it again: France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force.

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France believes that to make this choice ... the heads of state of the world must meet again here at the United Nations.

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No one ignores the cruelty of this dictatorship and the need to do everything to promote human rights, but that was not the aim of Resolution 1441.

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We will be facing an essential choice: disarming Iraq through war or through peace. And this crucial choice implies others. It implies the international community's ability to resolve current or future crises.

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