World leaders continue to set out their stall on the question of military action against Iraq. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, on 13 January, told reporters that if Baghdad refused to disarm, and certain members of the UN blocked military action, countries would have the right to act without UN authorisation. Blair also repeated his conviction that there was ‘no doubt’ Saddam Hussein was attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction. On 14 January, however, EU Foreign Policy & Security Commissioner Javier Solana said that a consensus was developing among EU members on how to proceed: ‘A second [UN Security Council] resolution may be necessary, I am for that,’ he said. Saudi Arabia revealed on 12 January that it had submitted proposals to fellow Arab states on a means of resolving the crisis peacefully, and expected these to be the basis of a summit.

On 14 January, two German businessmen went on trial in Mannheim charged with supplying Iraq with technology used in the manufacture of long range cannons, in violation of Germany’s weapons export laws and of UN sanctions. The pair are also accused of collaborating with the Ukraine in 1997 and 1998 to sell Iraq parts for Russian-built MiG aircraft.