Straw says UK flexible about demand for Saddam televised statement

14 March 2003
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary Jack Straw said at a joint press conference with the Portuguese Foreign Minister on 13 March that Britain would be flexible about the proposal that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein makes a televised statement in Arabic acknowledging he has concealed weapons of mass destruction.

'If that was the only issue between ourselves, other members of the Security Council and Iraq and dropping that would clinch the deal we would be willing to do so,' a Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesman told MEED in elaboration of the off-the-cuff remarks made by Straw. 'But we would not drop the demand altogether. Saddam Hussein has to make some form of statement to the Iraqi people.'

The demand for a statement was one of six proposals submitted to the security council on 12 March. The proposals were to have been discussed at a council meeting starting at 2000 GMT on 13 March. It followed a report that the US administration is prepared to wait until after the European weekend for a vote on a resolution submitted by America, Britain and Spain that is widely seen as providing automatic authorisation for the use of force against Iraq.

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