NEWS

Simitis urges EU unity on Iraq

STRASBOURG (Reuters) – EU president Greece appealed yesterday for European unity over Iraq, saying only this would ensure that the 15-nation bloc had influence in helping to end the crisis. Opinion in the European Union varies widely on how to handle Iraq, with Britain strongly backing US threats to disarm President Saddam Hussein by force if necessary and others, notably Germany, opposing military action. «We have to be able to move away from old habits where different countries speak in different ways with different objectives,» Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a session of the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg. «Maintaining international stability, removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction and ensuring peace are things we all strive toward. We have to have a clear, common policy among all the countries of the European Union on this,» he said. EU foreign ministers will try to forge a common policy on Iraq at their next meeting on January 27, Simitis added.