LONDON – British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Saddam Hussein to comply with a new resolution on the return of weapons inspectors or "we will disarm you by force."
Blair has been President Bush's staunchest overseas ally on Iraq, pushing along with the president for a tough stance toward Saddam. He said Saddam would face grave consequences if he disobeys the resolution.
"Defy the U.N.'s will and we will disarm you by force," Blair told reporters at his 10 Downing St. office. "Be in no doubt whatever over that."
Blair said that if Saddam refused to cooperate, there would be further discussion at the United Nations about what to do. He emphasized that the resolution was not "an automatic trigger point" for war.
"If Saddam complies, that is the U.N. mandate fulfilled," he said. "I may find this regime abhorrent — any moral person would. But the survival of it is in his hands. Conflict is not inevitable, but disarmament is."
The resolution, which the U.N. Security Council approved unanimously, said Saddam must disarm or face "serious consequences" that would almost certainly mean war.
"Everyone now accepts that if there is a defiance by Saddam the international community must act to enforce its will," Blair said. "Failure to do so would mean (that) having stated our clear demand we lacked the will to enforce it."
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel expressed backing for the Iraq resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council on Friday and praised President Bush for pushing it through the United Nations, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said, "Israel supports the U.N. Security Council resolution on the Iraqi issue, and values the determination of President Bush in leading the process," according to ministry spokesman Ron Prosor. He declined to comment further.
Ranaan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, declined to comment.
Israeli officials believe there is a high probability Iraq will fire Scud missiles on Israel in response to a U.S. strike on Saddam. Iraq rained 39 missiles on Israel in the 1991 Gulf War, causing extensive damage but few casualties.
Today Israel believes that Saddam has fewer missiles, but they could have chemical or biological warheads — unlike conventional warheads used in the Gulf War.
Israeli officials have said they believe the U.S. attack on the Baghdad regime is no longer in doubt, and have been gearing up its preparations for a possible Israeli strike.
Israel presented its new Arrow anti-missile batteries to reporters on Thursday, which are billed as its leading defense against a potential Scud attack.
In recent months, Israel has conducted many exercises to prepare for a worst-case scenario — a chain-reaction attack by Iraq, the Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas or even Syria at the same time.
PARIS (AP) — French President Jacques Chirac urged Iraq to cooperate fully with the United Nations, saying the resolution approved by the Security Council on Friday gives Baghdad a "chance to disarm in peace."
"The message of the international community is clear: It has united to tell Iraq that it is now time to cooperate fully with the United Nations," the French president said after the unanimous vote.
"The unanimous vote by the Security Council ... offers Iraq a chance to disarm in peace," Chirac said. "That was the meaning of France's initiative since the start."
BERLIN (AP) — Germany says it's now up to Saddam Hussein to show he's serious about peace.
In a statement, Germany's foreign minister Joschka Fischer applaudED the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for thorough and immediate weapons inspections.
He said the measure is a "clear signal to Baghdad" that it "must realize what serious consequences" would result should it fail to comply.
In September, the German official had urged the U.N. to pursue further weapons inspections before resorting to military action, saying, "In no case should we escalate."