Taoiseach backs down on US going alone

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at eircom.net
Wed Feb 19 18:34:00 MST 2003

Taoiseach says he disagrees with US over resolution
By Eoin Burke-Kennedy  Last updated: 19-02-03, 18:56

The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, this afternoon, said he disagreed with the United
States on the requirement for a second UN Resolution before there is any
military action taken against Iraq.

The United States has long maintained that a second resolution is
unnecessary for any military action because it already considers Saddam
Hussein in breach of the UN Security Council's resolution on disarmament

Speaking on the RTÉ news this evening Mr Ahern said the most important issue
for this country was the primacy of the United Nations.

He disagreed with the United States on whether or not they legally needed
another UN Resolution before launching an attack on Iraq, saying that other
countries, including Ireland, had another point of view.

Earlier today, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that his Government has had no
discussions "directly or indirectly" with the White House about the use of
Shannon Airport in the event of any unilateral strike on Iraq.

Mr Ahern said he was not going to take a "categorical position" on any
unilateral US strike on Iraq prior to the event.

Responding to a question by Fine Gael leader Mr Edna Kenny, Mr Ahern said
the Government "would be consistent to its position" and stand with the UN
Security Council and do nothing to undermine the council.

The Taoiseach said he did not accept the view by some international leaders
that a second UN resolution was not required for a military strike on Iraq.

He added that he still believed war could be avoided.

Mr Ahern is expected to face backbench dissent on the Iraq issue at a Fianna
Fáil parliamentary party today.

A number of deputies are said to be uneasy about the size of the anti-War
demonstrations and the possibility of allowing the US use Shannon if it
launched its own war on Iraq.

Mr Ahern said American investment in the Republic was not the sole
consideration in deciding policy, but that it should be borne in mind.

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