EU urges calm over US criticism of Syria
The Jerusalem Post

April 15, 2003

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Monday urged the administration of US President George W. Bush to curb its criticism of Syria which Washington accuses of harboring weapons of mass destruction and leaders of Iraq's toppled regime.

"The region is going through a very difficult process," Solana said. "It would be better to make constructive statements to see if we can cool down the situation."

In a separate news conference Monday, German Foreign Minister Yoschka Fischer said it was important to "concentrate on winning the peace, and not on getting into a new confrontation."

Showing the still evident split within the EU over Iraq, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, on a trip to the Gulf region, agreed with Washington that Syria needed to cooperate more.

Straw stressed however, that Syria was not the next target for the US-British coalition.

Solana warned the EU should do more to tackle the spread of biological, nuclear and chemical weapons.

"We may be confronted in the next years with some serious cases of proliferation," Solana said.

"Almost every new piece of intelligence about weapons of mass destruction shows that the risks of proliferation are worse than we had thought."

The war has badly marred relations within the EU between a pro-war camp led by Britain, Spain and Italy, and opponents of the conflict headed by France and Germany.