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France Would not Support Amended UN Resolution,  De Villepin Says - 2003-03-07

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says France will not support a revised U.N. draft resolution presented by the United Kingdom. The draft would set a March 17 deadline for Iraq to comply with U.N. disarmament resolutions or face war.

Britain is circulating the amendment to the Security Council in hopes of drawing the support of undecided members. But Mr. de Villepin said France will not authorize the use of force as long as U.N. weapons inspectors say that Iraq is cooperating in their efforts to discover and destroy Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction.

"I am forced to say that behind this presentation there is the idea of an ultimatum," he said. "March 17, this is the logic of war. We do not accept this logic."

The amendment is designed to convince veto-wielding members China, France, and Russia to support the use of force if Iraq does not take one last chance to disarm. But Mr. de Villepin says France will not accept a resolution that sets a timetable for war.