British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon says he has called up some army reservists and is sending a Royal Navy force to the Mediterranean to train for possible action in the Persian Gulf.
Mr. Hoon says Tuesday's mobilization does not mean war with Iraq is either imminent or inevitable. But he says it is the latest move to increase pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac told French troops to be ready for deployment -- in a possible sign that France might participate in a military move against Iraq.
Mr. Chirac, in a New Year's address to the armed forces, said French soldiers face challenges in operations already underway -- an apparent reference to Ivory Coast. He added they may be needed in new military operations that, in his words, "could open up."
On Monday, a one-thousand-bed U-S hospital ship set sail for the Persian Gulf region, in the latest sign of U-S preparations for possible war with Iraq. The United States is also moving more troops and equipment to the Gulf region.
Meanwhile, U-N arms experts in Iraq began using helicopters to quickly travel to suspected weapons sites and to carry out aerial inspections.
Witnesses say three U-N helicopters carrying arms inspectors flew out of an Iraqi base near Baghdad early this (Tuesday) morning. The U-N helicopters were escorted by two Iraqi aircraft. Iraqi officials said one inspection team flew to a site (Akashat) near the Syrian border, while other teams visited at least five other sites. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, says inspectors need more information from the United States to aid in their probe. U-N inspectors are to report back the Security Council by January 27th on Iraqi compliance with the Council's disarmament resolution.