Britain can afford Iraq war
LONDON: Britain will be able to foot the bill for what could turn out to be a multi-billion-pound war on Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said Sunday.
In an interview on BBC television, the British finance minister fully backed the tough Iraq policy of the prime minister - and his personal political rival - Tony Blair.
“In difficult circumstances like these - whether it’s been Kosovo or Afghanistan, or whether domestically it’s been foot-and-mouth and other emergencies that we did not expect - we’ve always had to find the money and make it available,” Brown said.“We will find the money, and it is necessary that we do,” he added.
Echoing Blair’s position on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, Brown said Saddam “cannot be left with impunity to break international law and to persistently defy the international community.”
“What Tony Blair is saying - and what he’s been doing is absolutely right, and I believe that the British people will come to the view that this is the right course of action - is that we must stand up to dictators who defy the international community by having weapons of destruction and failing to disclose them,” he said.
Last week a defence think-tank estimated that a war in Iraq would cost British taxpayers 3.5 billion pounds (5.71 billion dollars, 5.27 billion euros) - a figure which would rise if British troops became entrenched in a long drawn-out war and street fighting.
The long-term costs of stabilising and rebuilding Iraq after the conflict, in which Britain is likely to play a key role, could be more than 30 billion pounds a year, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said. —AFP
‘Saddam has days to change behaviour’
MUNICH: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will be disarmed within months — but he has only days to change his behaviour if he wants to avoid disarmament by force, a British minister said on Sunday. “If Saddam continues to fail to cooperate then the United Kingdom is determined to use force if necessary,” Minister of State Adam Ingram said. “I take it as a given that in the course of the coming months Saddam will be disarmed.” He told a security conference in Munich that giving UN weapons inspectors more time would hand Saddam an opportunity to “play more games of hide and seek. —Reuters