France To Face Consequences
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    Powell: France to face consequences for antiwar stance
    Blix, U.S. dispute arms inspectors' role in Iraq
    Wednesday, April 23, 2003 Posted: 5:44 AM EDT (0944 GMT)

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- France will face consequences for having opposed the United States over the war with Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says.

    Speaking to the Charlie Rose Show television program, Powell said the United States had to review its relationship with France following that nation's promise to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

    The United States subsequently invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein, whom Washington accused of pursuing weapons of mass destruction, despite the opposition of France, Russia, Germany and other nations.

    "It's over and we have to take a look at the relationship. We have to look at all aspects of our relationship with France in light of this," Powell said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by the State Department.

    Asked if there were consequences for having stood up to the United States, Powell replied "yes" but did not elaborate.

    Earlier, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher suggested the disagreement would have an effect on U.S. ties with other nations, but he declined to be specific.

    "We have made clear that there are opportunities to work with allies in the reconstruction of Iraq and bringing a better life for the Iraqi people. There are opportunities to work with allies on other issues, but that also the recent events and disagreements will have an effect on our views and our relationships," Boucher told reporters.

    Meanwhile, a disagreement has arisen over the continued hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    Hans Blix told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that his inspection team is prepared to return to Iraq to hunt for the banned weapons. But the White House responded to the chief weapons inspector's comments by saying the United States has taken over the job.

    France called for a compromise, saying some way should be found to coordinate the efforts of U.S.-led coalition inspection teams now working in Iraq with the U.N. inspectors who left the country before the war. (Full story)

    The debate over who should investigate deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's weapons program has echoes of the debate in the United Nations leading up to the war. The United States said the war needed to happen quickly to dismantle Saddam's illegal weapons cache that the White House said included chemical and biological weapons.

    So far, there have been no banned weapons found in the early days of post-war Iraq.

    In a separate announcement, France proposed an immediate suspension of United Nations sanctions against Iraqi civilians, according to the French ambassador to the international body.

    Speaking to reporters outside the U.N. Security Council chamber, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere recommended a gradual "phasing-out" of the oil-for-food program.

    "Sixty percent of the Iraqi people depend on the oil-for-food [program] ... and without transition, it would be destabilizing and would have humanitarian consequences," de la Sabliere said. "The program should be adjusted to take into account realities, but there should be a phasing out."

    The oil-for-food program allows the Iraqi government to use oil revenues from a U.N. escrow account to buy humanitarian goods.

    John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, repeated Washington's stance that "sanctions should be lifted as soon as possible."

    The move could constitute an important step toward the U.S. goal of ending trade embargoes that have crippled Iraq's economy. Last week, President Bush called for the sanctions to be lifted to free up revenue from Iraqi oil for costs of the country's reconstruction.