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World Leaders Applaud U.S. Move

November 15, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ World leaders on Sunday generally applauded President Clinton’s call for Iraq to keep its promise to resume cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors and welcomed the use of diplomacy to resolve the crisis.

Speaking at the White House, Clinton said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein narrowly averted military action, and warned that forces remain poised to strike if he doesn’t live up to his pledge of unconditional cooperation.

``President Clinton’s statesmanlike response today will be welcomed by the international community,″ U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement.

The president’s remarks led news broadcasts in France and Britain, where it also went out live on Sky TV.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told CNN on Sunday night that Britain is ``fully behind President Clinton in the central thrust of his remarks.″

``It is quite clear that Saddam Hussein has backed down, and the only reason he has backed down is because he was convinced there was a real, credible threat of force from the United States and the United Kingdom,″ Cook said.

He said he agreed with Clinton that Saddam must now prove his commitment by allowing inspectors unfettered access, saying: ``We’re both going to keep our guard up until he does that.″

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country remained skeptical of Saddam’s intentions.

``There is always doubt as to the degree to which he will fulfill his commitments, and therefore Israel will keep its eyes open and remain ready for every possible situation in the future,″ he said in a statement.

Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said Israel hopes the return of the weapons inspectors will allow for meaningful supervision.

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