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European Press Review: Commercial Motives or Good Will Behind Iraq Resolution?

The United Nations’ new resolution lifting sanctions against Iraq has attracted the interest of commentators across Europe.


The Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger dismissed the resolution as the work of American corporations. Coming only two months after the United States pushed the UN up against a wall, most American concessions represent only cosmetic changes, the paper wrote, and pointed out that Washington was still as determined as ever to make all decisions on the make up of Iraq’s civil administration and the usage of its oil resources.

The Kommersant in Moscow accused the Russian government of selling out the U.N. weapons inspectors and saw only commercial motives behind its approval of the resolution.

The Russki Kurjer in Moscow said that concessions achieved by Germany, Russia and France had only been symbolic and that their demand for a substantial role in the United Nations had not been met. However, the paper continued, further resistance against the resolution would have been futile.

Sweden's Dagens Nyheter was less pessimistic, suggesting that the agreement on the resolution reflected a comeback for the United Nations. Washington had obviously recognized that America couldn't rebuild Iraq on its own, the paper noted.

Le Monde in Paris regarded the resolution as an indication that Washington was viewing the situation in Iraq more realistically, admitting to the problems it was having of restoring public order and rebuilding the civilian administration. Such an attitude means the U.S. will act less "cocksure" in the future, the paper concluded.

In Poland, which backed the America position and is being rewarded with responsibility for an administrative sector in Iraq, the Gazeta Wyborcza lauded the resolution as a moral victory for states like Spain and Poland who stood by America while not leaving their European family.

Rzeczpospolita in Poland deemed the resolution a promising expression of the will of all sides to return to objectivity in transatlantic relations and cooperation in the United Nations.