Mr. President,

France considers that the resolution which has just been adopted is a good one for the following reasons:

The resolution strengthens the role and authority of the Security Council. That was the main and constant objective for France throughout the negotiations that Wave just been completed. We had reflected that objective in our request for a "two-stage approach" to be established and adopted so as to ensure that the Security Council maintains control of the process at each stage.

That objective was achieved: in the event the executive president of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission or the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency reports to the Security Council that Iraq has not complied with its obligations, the Council would meet immediately to assess the seriousness of these violations and draw the consequences. France welcomes the fact that all ambiguity on this point end all element of automaticity have disappeared from the resolution.

As we wished, the resolution just adopted also gives UNMOVIC's executive president and the IAEA director general a clear mandate and stronger authority to carry out their mission. Their teams will be able to access without delay and without restrictions all sites they might wish to inspect. They will be able to question, at their convenience, all the Iraqi leaders involved in the activities covered by the resolution. The multinational composition of the teams will guarantee their impartiality. They will benefit from all the technical and logistic facilities necessary to carry out their tasks.

The inspectors will naturally have to be able to count on the complete cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to verify that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction and to ensure its disarmement. To begin with Iraq will have to express without ambiguity, within a period of seven days, its decision to apply in full this resolution and to cooperate actively with the inspectors_ It will have to provide a declaration within 30 days to facilitate their work. France has complete confidence in Mr. Blix and Mr. Al Baradei to make the most of the new prerogatives that have been given them, to carry out with rigor and professionalism the vital responsibilities entrusted to them by the Security Council. Backed by this mandate and greater responsibility, their teams should now be able to return to Iraq immediately to resume their inspections.

France, Russia and China will make public during the day a joint statement emphasizing the significance of the text we have just adopted.

Mr. President,

This resolution is thus a success for the Security Council and the United Nations. This success must now become a success for peace. As the President of the Republic, Mr. Jacques Chirac, said yesterday, all France's diplomatic efforts in the past few weeks were intended to give peace a chance, that is to say, the disarming of Iraq peacefully.

France's objective is to work tirelessly for the stability of the region. That is the context in which the efforts of the international community to obtain Iraq's disarmament, through a collective approach of responsibility, must be placed. War can be only a last recourse. The rules of the game set by the Security Council are clear and demanding. They imply unwavering cooperation on the part of Iraq's leaders_ If Iraq wishes to avoid confrontation, it must understand that the opportunity it has been given is the last.