It has also restated the alignment between the three countries over the Iraq crisis and set out the case for UN weapons inspectors to be given more time to clear Iraq of the charge that it still possesses weapons of mass destruction.

Excerpts from the French, German and Russian memorandum:

Full and effective disarmament in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions remains the imperative objective of the international community. Our priority should be to achieve this peacefully through the inspection regime. The military option should only be a last resort.

So far, the conditions for using forces against Iraq are not fulfilled: while suspicions remain, no evidence has been given that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction or capabilities in this field;

Inspections have just reached their full pace; they are functioning without hindrance; they have already produced results.

While not yet fully satisfactory, Iraqi co-operation is improving as mentioned by the chief inspectors in their last report. Our common objective-the verifiable disarmament of Iraq-can be reached through the implementation of the following proposals:

Clear programme of action for inspections: The presentation of this programme of work should be speeded up, in particular the key remaining disarmament tasks to be completed by Iraq pursuant to its obligations to comply with the disarmament requirements of resolution 687 and other related resolutions. Such a clear identification of tasks to be completed will oblige Iraq to co-operate more actively. It will also provide a clear means for the Council to assess the co-operation of Iraq.

Reinforced inspections: Resolution 1441 established an intrusive and reinforced system of inspections. In this regard, all possibilities have not yet been explored. Further measures to strengthen inspections could include, as exemplified in the French non-paper previously communicated to the chief inspectors, the following: increase and diversification of staff and expertise; establishment of mobile units designed in particular to check on trucks; completion of the new system of aerial surveillance; systematic processing of data provided by the newly established system of aerial surveillance.

Within the framework of resolution 1284 and 1441, the implementation of the programme of work shall be sequenced according to a realistic and rigorous timeline:

The inspectors should be asked to submit the programme of work outlining the key substantive tasks for Iraq to accomplish, including missiles/delivery systems, chemical weapons/precursors, biological weapons/material and nuclear weapons in the context of the report due on March 1st.

The chief inspectors shall report to the Council on implementation of the programme of work on a regular basis (every three weeks);

A report of Unimovic and IAEA assessing the progress made in completing the tasks shall be submitted by the inspectors 120 days after the adoption of the programme of work according to resolution 1284.

To render possible a peaceful solution, inspections should be given the necessary time and resources.

However, they cannot continue indefinitely. Iraq must disarm. Its full and active co-operation is necessary.