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UN must stand up for international law - Iraq

[JURIST] Speaking Wednesday at a UN Security Council open meeting on the Iraq war [UN News report], Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Aldouri called for the UN to take action to stop a war on his country that was in blatant breach of international law. Here is a summary of his statement, from the UN Press Office:

MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said that his country - a founding Member of the United Nations - was being subjected to aggression, which was killing women, children and the elderly. Sanctions, which have lasted for almost 13 years, were also having a terrible effect on the country. The goal of changing the regime in his country, which had been proclaimed by the United States, constituted a blatant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The humanitarian effect of the war was devastating. The lack of water in Basra, for example, was likely to lead to outbreaks of disease. A mosque in Baghdad had been destroyed. In an attempt to terrorize Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted some 2,000 bombing sorties a day. The forces of the Iraqi army and the people of the country were fighting a heroic battle against the aggression, however.

The Council must take action to make sure that the rules of international law were observed, he continued. While the aggressors said that their goal was disarmament of Iraq, everybody knew that they were not the ones tasked with that mandate. The inspections during several months had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction or proscribed activities within Iraq. The real reason was occupation of the country, its recolonization and controlling its oil wealth.

The international community was also well aware that the Security Council had not authorized the use of force by the United States and the United Kingdom, he said. Despite the position of the majority of the members of the Council and Iraq’s cooperation, the two countries had launched their aggressive war, which constituted a blatant material breach of international law and the United Nations Charter. It was also a material breach of relevant Security Council resolutions, which, without exception, called for respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This barbaric colonial military aggression against Iraq constituted a threat to international peace and security. The Council was called upon to stop the aggression and demand the withdrawal of United States and United Kingdom forces from the territory of Iraq. The Council must impose respect for its resolutions, particularly those relating to unjustified embargo against his country. He was still hopeful that the international community would be able to impose its will on those who had broken the international law. A failure to do so would mean the end of the United Nations system.

It was also peculiar that instead of considering the aggression itself, the Council had been busy discussing the humanitarian aspects of the problem, he added. Shouldn't the Council pay attention to the cessation of the aggression was first? Wasn't that putting the cart in front of the horse? The oil-for-food programme had been stopped, and the inspectors had been withdrawn from Iraq, with the Council's blessing. How had the Council allowed itself to be manipulated into such a situation? It was his hope that the Council would be able to stand up to the aggressors.
UPDATE [11:05 AM ET Thursday]: Recorded video of the Iraqi ambassador's remarks is now available from the UN.

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