Remarks by Britain’s Foreign Minister to Security Council

Following are selected comments by Jack Straw, the foreign minister of Great Britain, to the Security Council today as recorded by the Federal News Service. For all the text of the speeches as well as real-time audio of them, you can link to Online NewsHour — Intervention in Iraq?

Dr. Blix said in his opening remarks that this — what’s changed may well be due to strong outside pressure. That’s absolutely right. In his remarks, Dominique de Villepin said that — and described a lot of diplomatic pressure by the non-aligned movement, by the European Union, by the Arab League and by many others. And I greatly welcome all of that diplomatic pressure. Dominique went on to say, “and the United States and United Kingdom forces lend support to that pressure” With respect to my good friend, I think it’s the other way around. (Laughter.) I really do. What has happened? All that pressure was there for every day of 12 years. In Dr. Blix’s carefully chosen words, the “strong outside pressure” is — and let us be blunt about this — the presence of over 200,000 United States and United Kingdom young men and young women willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of this body, the United Nations.

And Dominique also said the choice before us was disarmament by peace or disarmament by war. Dominique, that’s a false choice. I wish that it were that easy, because we wouldn’t be having to have this discussion. We could all put up our hands for disarmament by peace and go home.

The paradox we face is that the only way we are going to achieve disarmament by peace of a rogue regime which all of us know has been in defiance of this council for the past 12 years, the only way we can achieve their disarmament of their weapons of mass destruction, which this council has said poses a threat to international peace and security, is by backing our diplomacy with the credible threat of force. I wish we lived in a different world, where this was not necessary, but sadly, we live in that world.

And the choice — the choice, Dominique, is not ours as to how this disarmament takes place. The choice is Saddam Hussein’s. It’s his choice. It’s his choice. Would that it were ours, because it would be so easy. But sadly, it is not.

And there is only one possible sensible conclusion that we can draw. We have to increase the pressure on Saddam Hussein. We have to put this man to the test. He’s shown this week he doesn’t need more time to comply. He can act with astonishing speed when he chooses to. What’s more, he knows exactly what has to be done. He knows this because he’s the originator of all this, of the information. The Iraqis don’t need a Dr. Hans Blix and all his staff to produce 167 pages of forensic questions. They have the answer book already. Look how fast they acted to produce 13,000 pages of a declaration, albeit much of that was irrelevant. Mr. President, it may take time to fabricate further falsehoods, but the truth takes only seconds to tell.

And I just want to make this clear, on this issue of automaticity, which again my good friend Dominique raised. This is — there’s nothing ever been automatic about the threat of force or the use of force. It has always been conditional. It would be utterly irresponsible and in defiance of our solemn duties to this council for us to walk into a situation where force was used automatically. And although there’s been that canard around — that some of us were in the business of using force automatically — the truth is that it’s not being used automatically, it should not be used automatically, it will not be used automatically. And nothing to which my government has ever put its name ever suggests that that would be the case.

What we seek is compliance by Saddam Hussein of 1441………..

I had to attend a funeral today, so I was only able to listen to the first part of Hans Blix’s presentation and caught Jack Straw’s speech in it’s entirety as I drove in the procession to the burial. Later, however, I was able to recap all of the countries’ speeches and see the French diplomat and Colin Powell’s press conference after the “informal meeting.”

But I have to say that Jack Straw is one of the most eloquent, direct and bold speakers I have seen in my time. He rebuts all challenges with precise logic, takes no guff or insult lightly and sticks to the facts. Perhaps U.S. intelligence should convince him to change his citizenship so he can espouse our opinions directly. He’s just got Colin Powell and others beat by a longshot with his eloquence.

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