1. Reporter asking question
2. SOUNDBITE: (France) Jacques Chirac, French President:
"I'll tell you what my feeling is. My belief is that tonight this resolution, which carries an ultimatum - and therefore presenting an international slide towards war - does not have a majority of nine votes."
Question: So France doesn't need to use its veto?
Chirac: "Apart from that, which is exactly right, France will naturally have a part to play. There are the nations that are voting no, therefore France, there are those who will abstain and in that case there won't be a majority. So in this case there won't be the problem of a veto."
Question: And if that's not the case?
Chirac: "So, in the second instance, of course people change their minds and according to what I believe are their sentiments at this time and in this case there could easily be a majority of nine or more votes who are for the new resolution - the one which authorises war. In this case France will vote no. But there is a characteristic, that's what one would call the reality of using a veto, that's if one of the members of the Permanent Five, that's the United States, England, Russia, China, France, votes no, even if there is a a majority then the resolution won't be adopted. That's what one would call the right of veto."
Question: What's your main position at the moment?
Chirac: "No matter what the circumstances we will vote 'no', because it considers, at this time, that there is no place for going to war to achieve the objective that we all want at the moment, that is the disarmament of Iraq."
3. Reporter on camera
4. Wide aerial Chirac talking to the two reporters
President Jacques Chirac said on Monday that France was prepared to veto the US-backed resolution on
Iraq if necessary, joining Russia in saying it would vote against giving Saddam Hussein until March 17 to disarm.
Chirac said in a televised interview that France would vote against any resolution that contains an ultimatum
leading to war: "No matter what the circumstances we will vote 'no.'"
It was the first time Chirac explicitly said France would use its veto power as a permanent member of the UN
Security Council to block the United States' quest for world body approval for war.
However, Chirac also indicated the veto might not be needed because the resolution does not have the nine
Security Council votes needed for passage.
"Tonight this resolution, which carries an ultimatum ... does not have a majority of nine votes," Chirac said.
Chirac's statements came shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia - another veto-wielding
Security Council member - would vote against the US-British UN resolution.
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