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France, Russia and Germany Announce Unified Opposition Against War With Iraq - 2003-03-05

France has indicated it will use its veto power to kill any United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Russia has also raised the possibility of a veto. The French announcement followed a meeting between the French, Russian and German foreign ministers in Paris.

After meeting with his Russian and German counterparts, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin read a joint statement saying France, Russia and Germany would not allow a security council resolution calling for the use of force against Iraq.

When asked specifically if France was prepared to veto a resolution backed by the United States, Great Britain and Spain, Mr. Villepin said France would not leave it to others, and there absolutely will not be a second U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force.

Mr. Villepin and the other two foreign ministers, Igor Ivanov of Russia and Joschka Fischer of Germany, said it was not too late to seek the peaceful disarmament of Iraq, despite American indications that it will strike Iraq with or without U.N. approval.

The ministers' statement said weapons inspections are producing encouraging results, including the supervised destruction of some Iraqi missiles and information on chemical and biological weapons.

The meeting of the foreign ministers was hastily arranged to include Mr. Fischer and was apparently intended to present a unified position prior to Friday's meeting of the Security Council, where the head weapons inspectors will present an updated report to the council. The United States has indicated it wants a vote on the Iraq resolution next week.