February 13, 2003


Now Blair clashes with Germans (Charles Reiss, 13 February 2003, Evening Standard)
A fresh rift opened today between Britain and Germany as Tony Blair condemned Iraq for a " significant breach" of United Nations rules--only to be slapped down by Berlin.

The trigger for the latest in a series of bitter rows was the report that weapons inspectors had uncovered damning evidence that Saddam Hussein is building long-range ballistic missiles.

The chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, is set to report that Iraq al-Samoud 2 missiles break a 150km limit imposed by the UN.

The Prime Minister was in no doubt about the consequences. He said: "If these reports are correct, it is very serious. It would be not just a failure to declare and disclose information but a breach of Resolution 1441."

Mr Blair was backed by Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, at Downing Street for talks. He called it "another example of Iraq's refusal to abide by the Security Council."

Within minutes, Germany denied that this was the "smoking gun" needed to trigger a war.

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told his parliament that there was still no evidence to show that the regime of Saddam Hussein was in "material breach" of UN rules. He renewed his insistence that the weapons inspectors should be given more time to do their job before any resort to war.

We get it: until Saddam lobs a nuke into Paris or Munich there's no such thing as a breach, is there? Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2003 4:07 PM
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