11 February 2003

The following is a translated transcription of the full text of a joint declaration from Russia, Germany and France issued by French President Jacques Chirac Monday after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Sunday.

"Russia, Germany and France, in close coordination, reaffirm that disarming Iraq, in accordance with the relevant resolutions since U.N. Resolution 687, is the common objective of the international community and must be achieved as soon as possible.

"There is a debate on how this should be done. This debate must continue in the spirit of friendship and respect that characterizes our relations with the United States and other countries. Any solution must be inspired by the principles of the United Nations charter as were recently quoted by the secretary general Kofi Annan.

"U.N. Resolution 1441, adopted unanimously by the U.N. Security Council, provides a framework of which the potential has not yet been fully exploited.

"The inspections led by the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have already produced results. Russia, Germany and France favor the continuation of the inspections and a substantial reinforcement of their human and technical capacities through all possible means and in liaison with the inspectors, in the framework of the U.N. resolution 1441.

"There is still an alternative to war. The use of force can only be considered as a last resort. Russia, Germany and France are determined to ensure that everything possible is done to disarm Iraq peacefully.

"For the inspections to be completed, it is up to Iraq to actively cooperate with the IAEA and the UNMOVIC. Iraq must fully accept its responsibilities.

"Russia, Germany and France note that the position they are expressing is similar to that of a large number of countries within the Security Council."


I'm a bit uncomfortable posting this transcript without further comment.  To me it seems a remarkable document.  The World is on the brink of another war, and I'm grasping for understanding of it all.  I assume that you are as well, and I believe resorting to the raw text of events like this speech is probably the best way to work towards an informed opinion.

Thus, this node.  That said, the last thing I want to encourage on E2 is a stream of mindless news clips being posted.  I'm gonna rely on the E2 editors to sort it out...