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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
The following is a selection of quotes from editorials and other material published in the 17 March editions of the African press. As indicated, some material from 16 and 15 March is also included. Unless otherwise stated, the newspapers are published in English.
Bush "has no smoking gun" on Iraq
Kenya's Nation [top selling daily - independent]: "The ball is in President Bush's court. He can either order an attack, face global condemnation or allow longer UN arms inspections in Iraq. The problem for him, as opposed to his father whose goal was to liberate Kuwait, the president has no smoking gun and he cannot prove his claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." (Commentary by Henry Owuor - "It's a repeat of the first Gulf War")
Africa must "not let economic weaknesses" dictate stance on Iraq
Zimbabwe's Sunday Mirror [pro-govt]: "While the ramifications of snubbing either side on this thorny issue portend serious retribution, especially economically, the African countries should take the moral high ground and not let their economic weaknesses be the basis for their decisions." (Unattributed commentary on 16 March - "Africans should oppose Iraq war")
US, UK, Spain summit not about diplomacy
Kenya's Standard [independent]: "George W Bush and his European sidekicks British Premier Tony Blair and his Spanish counterpart Jose Maria Aznar can have as many meetings about Iraq as they possibly want, but let them not pretend about diplomacy. What these three were meeting to talk about yesterday is how to go to war without the UN; they met to form a war council and for Bush to tell Blair he understands and sympathizes with him regarding the opposition to war at home." (Editorial - "Warmongers meet")
African disunity on Iraq would undermine Nepad
South Africa's Sunday Times [independent]: "It seems somewhat baffling, considering the anti-war positions …