U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has criticized major European allies for delaying military preparations for a possible war against Iraq, saying this makes war more likely -- not less.
At an international security conference in Munich, Germany, today (Saturday), Mr. Rumsfeld said delaying military preparations sends a signal of uncertainty. He said it is "inexcusable" for France, Germany, and Belgium to block the alliance from preparing to defend Turkey in the event of war.
French Defense Minister Marie Alliot-Marie said her country has not ruled out the use of military force to disarm Iraq, but she said war has to be the last resort.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said he is not convinced of the need for military action against Iraq at this time. German Defense Minister Peter Struck told the conference he believed NATO members will reach an agreement on Turkey by a Monday deadline.
Meanwhile, a German spokesman says Germany and France are working on a joint initiative to resolve the Iraq crisis peacefully, but he did not provide details. The German news magazine Der Spiegel says the plan calls for tripling the number of U-N inspectors in Iraq and the deployment of U-N troops throughout the country.
The magazine says the German-French initiative also involves stricter regulations on exports to Iraq and an international agreement