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2/26/03 - SPAIN’S STRONG STANCE ON IRAQ - 2003-02-26

The United States has many allies in the war against terrorism. One of the strongest is Spain. As President George W. Bush said at a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar [AHS-nahr] February 22nd in Texas, “Our two nations have drawn closer than ever before in fighting terrorism across Europe and beyond. Spain has apprehended members of al-Qaida and continues to share vital. . .intelligence information.”

As Prime Minister Aznar put it, “We free societies are the targets of terrorists, and they must be fought unconditionally, with no reservations. . . . [W]e cannot be. . .the hostages of the terrorists, and we will not be.”

Prime Minister Aznar also made it clear that Spain supports strong action to deal with the threat posed by the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. At a February 17th meeting of the fifteen European Union leaders, Spain played a key role in the adoption of a statement demanding that Iraq get rid of its weapons of mass destruction and cooperate “immediately and fully” with United Nations weapons inspectors. The E-U leaders said the “Iraqi regime alone will be responsible for the consequences if it. . .does not take this last chance.”

Iraq was given its “last chance” in U-N Security Council resolution fourteen-forty-one, unanimously adopted last November. The U-N has already found Iraq in “material breach” of its obligations, stretching back over twelve years and sixteen resolutions. Resolution fourteen-forty-one puts the burden on Iraq to prove that it has eliminated all programs for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. The resolution says the Iraqi regime will face “serious consequences” if it does not comply.

By adopting resolution fourteen-forty-one, the U-N Security Council has taken a clear stand. It has demanded full and immediate disarmament by Iraq. “That, and that alone,” said President Bush, “is the issue before the [Security] Council. We will not allow the Iraqi dictator, with a history of aggression and close ties to terrorist groups, to continue to possess or produce weapons of mass destruction.”