15 March 200322:45

JOINT STATEMENT BY RUSSIA, FRANCE AND GERMANY

639-15-03-2003

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Unofficial translation from Russian

The common aim of the international community is to disarm Iraq in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council. Resolution 1441, adopted unanimously, envisages for achieving this aim an unprecedented mechanism of inspections.

We reaffirm that in today's circumstances nothing justifies giving up the process of inspections and using force.

The reports by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, repeatedly presented to the Security Council, have shown that the inspections are yielding results. The disarmament of Iraq has begun. Everything indicates that it can be completed in a short time and within the rules established by the Security Council. For its part Iraq must cooperate actively and unconditionally.

France, Russia and Germany, supported by China, have submitted proposals for achieving this aim through the determination of key disarmament tasks and compilation of a tight schedule.

Other members of the Security Council made proposals in the same spirit. The unity of the Security Council can be preserved on the basis of these efforts with due regard for the principles laid down in Resolution 1441. Each member of the Security Council bears special responsibility for preventing a split at this crucial moment.

On Tuesday a program of work of the UNMOVIC is to be presented to the Security Council. Taking this into account, we suggest that thereupon the Security Council should immediately convene at foreign ministers' level to approve priority disarmament tasks and to adopt a schedule for their accomplishment, both exacting and realistic.

Use of force can be only a last resort. We solemnly call upon all Council members to do everything possible for a peaceful course to prevail, to which the Security Council adheres and which the vast majority of the international community supports.

March 15, 2003

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