Secret War: UN builds pressure on Iraq

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The Independent Online
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to condemn Iraq and to toughen sanctions in response to Iraq's continuing refusal to comply with UN weapons inspections. The four-point resolution, tabled by Britain, also warned of unspecified "further measures" if Iraq persisted in its defiance. There was no explicit threat to use military force, but it was not excluded either.

The resolution was a rebuff to Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, who had sent his Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, to the UN at the beginning of the week to plead Iraq's cause.

Iraq made no immediate response, but looked unlikely to comply. The country's foreign minister, Mohammad Said al-Sahaf, had accused the US of trying to push the region into a crisis and threatened that if the new resolution were approved, Baghdad would expel the six American inspectors in the UN teams. It was this threat that persuaded the Security Council to back yesterday's resolution.