INTERNATIONAL

Resolution final test for Iraq: Bush

Chicago Nov. 9. There is a lot of posturing in the aftermath of the new United Nations Security Council Resolution on Iraq, and along expected lines. While officials of the Bush administration continue to make the point that the United States came away not caving into, others in the Security Council see it differently — that the Council still being the final arbiter on any developing situation. "... in the event of any kind of dispute or disagreement on disarmament matters, the (inspectors) will report this to the Security Council and it is the Security Council that will consider the situation that has developed'', Russia's top envoy to the United Nations, Sergei Lavrov, has said.

To Moscow, the issue of "material breach'' is for the Security Council to decide. But the American Ambassador to the world body sees it differently.''... if the Council fails to act decisively in the event of a further Iraq violation, this Resolution does not constrain any member state from acting to defend itself'', John Negroponte remarked in New York in the aftermath of the 15-0 Council vote on Friday.

The new Resolution on Iraq is quite stringent on the conditions and stipulations as it gives the United Nations weapons inspectors "immediate, unimpeded and unconditional rights'' to search anywhere in Iraq for concealed weapons and programmes, including Presidential Palaces that Iraq had kept off limits earlier. The U.S. President, George W Bush, in his remarks at the White House after the U.N. vote did not mince words when he said that this was indeed the final test for Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein.

"If we are to avert war, all nations must continue to pressure Mr. Hussein to accept this Resolution to comply with his obligations'', Mr. Bush said while welcoming the passage of Resolution 1441.

Mr. Bush, whose tough stand on Iraq helped him make headway in the Congressional elections of November 5,also got words of support from Capitol Hill over the broad interpretation of Resolution 1441 and if the United States had the right to go alone after Iraq. The United States is not "handcuffed in any way'' by Resolution 1441 argued the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Henry Hyde. "The President's constitutional authority coupled with the strong support of Congress allows him to take actions necessary to defend our nation'', Mr. Hyde said in a Statement.

The senior Republican went on to make the point that the Resolution on Iraq helps the United States in two ways. The unmistakable signal to Iraq apart, the Resolution provides a "legal and political justification for other nations to support us in disarming Mr. Hussein — by force if necessary'', Mr. Hyde commented. The response of the top Iraq envoy at the United Nations was along expected lines as well. It was not a particularly good day for Iraq at the Security Council for even Syria — at the supposed nudging of Russia and France — voted in favour of the Resolution.

Syria, a strong holdout over the Resolution on Iraq was expected to be the lone dissenting voice in New York. "This is the will of the United States on the rest of the world'', Iraq's top envoy Mohammad Al Douri said. "I am very pessimistic. The Resolution is crafted in such a way to prevent inspectors to return to Iraq'', he maintained.

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