Thursday January 09, 2003

'No disagreement' in Malaysia on Iraq: US

KUALA LUMPUR: A top US defence official said after talks with Malaysia's foreign minister on Wednesday that there was complete agreement on the need for Iraq to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions on disarmament.
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton was responding to a question at a news conference about how he had been received here, given Malaysia's strong opposition to unilateral US military action against Iraq.
"Malaysia also made it plain that it insists on compliance with the applicable Security Council resolutions that Iraq has to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction," Bolton said after meeting Foreign Minister Syed Hamid.
"Everybody has agreed on that and I think that's a very important point as we enter the next several weeks waiting for the report of the (arms inspectors) to the Security Council. "On that issue, there is no disagreement at all."
Bolton, who has already visited New Zealand and Singapore, was due to leave later Wednesday for the Philippines before going on to Thailand, Japan, South Korea and China.
"We haven't asked for anything specifically on this trip," he said.
"This is to provide current thinking by our administration and to get the views of governments that I'm visiting.
"The New Zealand government also reiterated during Bolton's visit this week that any military action against Iraq must have the support of the Security Council and that the United States should not act unilaterally.
The United Nations has ordered Iraq to hand over any weapons of mass destruction it possesses or face "serious consequences". Iraq has denied having any such weapons.