PUTRAJAYA: Britain has given an assurance that it will wait for the United Nations’ weapon inspections report before resorting to any action, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.
He said compared with the harsh stand taken by the United States, Britain seemed to have a “more balanced view.”
”We are happy with Britain’s reassurance,” he told reporters after meeting British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw .
Syed Hamid said his impression was that Britain was downplaying the possibility of war and they would like to have a justification for war.
“But at the same time, they want a strong message to be sent to Iraq that the latter must co-operate and work with the inspectors,” he said.
On travel advisories that Britain had issued against Malaysia, Syed Hamid said the country had clarified that it was merely cautioning its citizens to be more careful.
“Britain has indicated that if the wording of these notices tend to cause concern or fear, they are quite willing to look into this as their intention is not to deter tourism and any investment and trade into Malaysia,” he said.
Later at a press conference at the KL International Airport, Straw re-emphasised the British Government’s commitment to use the UN route in dealing with Iraq.
“What we like to see is the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441 because by that process, Saddam Hussein can be disarmed of his weapons of mass destruction by peaceful means,” he said.
Straw also condemned North Korea’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty by giving a day’s notice.
He said North Korea, like all other signatories to the treaty, must provide a proper three months notice.
Kuala Lumpur was Straw’s last destination in a four-day tour of South-East Asia to explain the British Government’s stand on Iraq.
Straw, who had called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, later departed for London.