The argument over the Iraq war goes on. President Chirac said the war, undertaken without Security Council approval, had undermined the multilateral system. In remarks directed at the United States, he said no one could act alone in the name of everyone. No one could claim the right to use force unilaterally and pre-emptively.
Multilateralism was the key, Mr Chirac said, and it was a modern idea suited to complex global problems. Mr Chirac emphasised that transferring sovereignty to the Iraqis was essential though he set no deadline and he also talked about the gradual transfer of administrative and economic responsibilities according to a realistic timetable.
Mr Chirac called for far-reaching reform of the UN itself including the Security Council, echoing a theme laid out by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and he backed Mr Annan's idea of a high level panel to look at the challenges facing the UN and possible reform of its institutions.