Thursday

29th Feb 2024

Vilnius 10 sign letter on Iraq

The Vilnius 10 group, composed of Slovakia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia on Wednesday signed a letter in support of American military intervention in Iraq.

The Vilnius 10 said that US Secretary of State Colin Powell had proved to the UN Security Council that Iraq had clearly violated UN resolutions. The signatories are also willing to participate in the international coalition for the disarmament of Iraq.

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The letter was drafted on Wednesday before and after the speech of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in which he submitted evidence that Iraq does not respect UN resolutions.

In the draft letter seen by EUobserver, the Foreign Ministers of the ten countries state that they "understand the dangers posed by tyranny and the special responsibility of democracies to defend our shared values".

They support the declaration made at the Prague NATO Summit in November, which asked for full disarmament of Iraq as stipulated by the UN Security Council resolution 1441. They also make reference to the "international efforts to achieve a peaceful disarmament of Iraq".

The ten foreign ministers conclude by saying that "the clear and present danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime requires a united response from the community of democracies". They call upon the United Nations to take the appropriate action.

The Vilnius Group initiative follows a similar article of support for the US position that was published last week. The letter was signed by the leaders of five EU member states - Britain, Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Spain - and three candidate countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Bulgaria provides crucial balance

In view of the continuing disunity in European opinion on Iraq, Bulgaria, a permanent representative of the UN Security Council, may provide a balance. The country sits at the UN council together with France, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy. Bulgaria is a candidate for EU membership and has just received the invitation to join NATO. Its vote can still change the course of events, though the country is now placed in a difficult situation between NATO and the EU.

Following Colin Powell’s presentation, the foreign minister Solomon Passy said that the presentation "was strong and compelling. Iraq must immediately co-operate fully and effectively. So far, Iraq has been in breach of the necessary UN resolution."

Croatian president on Brussels visit

Stepjan Mesic, the Croatian President visited Brussels Monday and met Commission President, Romano Prodi, to discuss his country's future application for EU membership. Mr Prodi linked the status of membership with the need to reform the Croatian state and improve human rights and refugees problems.

Analysis

Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.

Investigation

Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

In a fractious parliamentary vote, the level of party discipline often decides the fate of legislation. Party discipline among nationalists and far-right MEPs is the weakest, something potentially significant after the June elections. Data by Novaya Gazeta Europe and EUobserver.

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