Wednesday, February 5, 2003

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Updated score -- New Europe 18, Old Europe 2

The foreign ministers of the Vilnius Group Countries -- Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia -- just issued a statement strongly supporting the U.S. position on Iraq, in response to the Powell speech on Iraq. This is in addition to last week's statement by the Gang of Eight. Here's the good part:

Our countries understand the dangers posed by tyranny and the special responsibility of democracies to defend our shared values. The trans-Atlantic community, of which we are a part, must stand together to face the threat posed by the nexus of terrorism and dictators with weapons of mass destruction.

We have actively supported the international efforts to achieve a peaceful disarmament of Iraq. However, it has now become clear that Iraq is in material breach of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, including U.N. Resolution 1441, passed unanimously on November 8, 2002. As our governments said on the occasion of the NATO Summit in Prague: "We support the goal of the international community for full disarmament of Iraq as stipulated in the UN Security Council Resolution 1441. In the event of non-compliance with the terms of this resolution, we are prepared to contribute to an international coalition to enforce its provisions and the disarmament of Iraq."

The clear and present danger posed by the Saddam Hussein's regime requires a united response from the community of democracies. We call upon the U.N. Security Council to take the necessary and appropriate action in response to Iraq's continuing threat to international peace and security.

It will be interesting to see if similar declarations emerge from non-European countries in the next couple of days.

[Aren't you exaggerating the story? These countries are small compared to France and Germany. They won't be involved in any actual fighting. What's the big deal?--ed. Consider that 13 of these 18 countries are not yet members of the European Union, and to get in, they're going to have to make France and Germany happy. These governments took a significant political risk to make these statements -- don't trivialize it.]

posted by Dan on 02.05.03 at 09:45 PM