Monday, February 10, 2003

US fury at European peace plan
"The Bush administration reacted with rage last night to a Franco-German initiative to extend arms inspections in Iraq, portraying the plan as a thinly disguised attempt to derail the US timetable for war... The emergence of the plan just days before the US is expected to press the case for military action at the UN was greeted with unalloyed anger by the White House... The Franco-German plan threatens to be a serious complication for Washington... US anger was compounded by the fact that the first it knew of the initiative was in a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel."

If the Germans and French stick to their guns there is the possibility that the US and UK will fail to get their preferred resolution up or even that they may be forced to veto a French sponsored resolution. This assumes importance because of the unexpectedly high public opposition to the proposed aggressive war, which would become overwhelming opposition if the war is launched without UN endorsement. The extent of US anger could be the first sign of a loss of confidence that the UN will bow to its demands.

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