22 January, 2003
Greece's ambassador to Washington, George Savvaides, said in an interview yesterday that European Union governments are focusing on forging “the maximum common view” in their response to the U.N. inspectors' report on Iraq's weapons programs. The report is to be presented to the Security Council on Monday by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.
As current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, Greece is at the center of those efforts. And it won't be easy to find common ground between Britain's staunch support of the United States and France's suggestion it might veto any Security Council resolution authorizing war.
In the interview, Savvaides seemed to place his government somewhere between those two. “We wish to make sure that all the efforts that are necessary are undertaken by all parties involved,” he said of Iraq's obligation to disclose its weapons. But he noted that “the majority of the EU members would like to see the Security Council follow up on the situation, especially if the report is not clear on implementation.”
EU governments are conferring and reconferring daily, he said. “Of critical importance is the discussion that will take place next Monday within the EU at the Brussels meeting of the council of ministers,” which brings together cabinet members from the 15 EU countries. The meeting will be chaired by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
After the discussion on Monday, Greece, as president, will summarize and present the EU position, Savvaides said.
“Common policy does not always mean a common voice,” he said. “We will follow developments and try to act accordingly, avoiding the military option but obliging Iraq to comply fully with United Nations obligations. We are not magicians and we are not prophets, but we will do what we can.”
Source: The Washington Post Company