The European Union Nations met in emergency session Monday to address differences over Iraq. They produced a compromise resolution.
French president Jacques Chirac said he would veto a second U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Hours later, the 15-member bloc issued a strongly-worded declaration, affirming solidarity with the U.S. and warning Saddam Hussein he faces one last chance to disarm peacefully.
"I think the most important thing at the moment is to send the signal of strength, not weakness because that is the language that Saddam will understand and that is also our best chance of avoiding conflict," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The E.U. declaration masks deep divisions in Europe. France, Germany and Belgium are still adamantly opposed to war and were able to block Britain's attempts to set a deadline for Iraq's disarmament. The U.N. Secretary General acknowledged time is running out.
"I urge the Iraqi leadership to choose compliance over conflict," said Kofi Annan. "If they were to continue their defiance on the Security Council resolution 1441 the members may have to make a grim choice."
In Baghdad, Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi television meeting with his cabinet. He reportedly told them anti-war protests over the weekend show the world is against an attack on Iraq.
Nevertheless, he said, they must continue to prepare for war. U.S. troops are doing the same, including live fire training exercises in the Kuwaiti desert. Meanwhile, NATO has finally agreed to begin fortifying Turkey against an attack from Iraq.
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