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UN Security Council debate on Iraq

[JURIST] A full summary of the almost 5-hour debate on the Iraq war [summary] in the UN Security Council Wednesday is now available online from the UN Press Office. Here are excerpts from summaries of some of the more notable statements:

YAHYA MAHMASSANI, Observer for the League of Arab States, said that the resolution adopted at the end of the Ministerial Council meeting of the League on 23 March had stated that the aggression against Iraq was a violation of the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law, as well as a threat to international peace and security. The League had called for the unconditional withdrawal of United States and British forces from Iraq and held them responsible for all the repercussions of the aggression. It had also called on the Council to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of forces. In addition, the League had called for a reaffirmation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

MOHAMMAD A. ABULHASAN (Kuwait) said that on 24 March the League of Arab States had adopted its resolution, with reservation from the State of Kuwait, for it did not mention the aggression by Iraq against his country. It was with profound sadness that his country was learning about the innocent victims among the brotherly Iraqi people and the coalition forces, as a result of ongoing hostilities. War should be the last resort, which could be used only after exhausting all other means. His people fully realized the effects of the military operations in Iraq, which had come about as a result of Iraq’s persistence in rejecting Security Council resolutions concerning elimination of weapons of mass destruction. It was important to remember that in 1991 Kuwait had been subjected to occupation by Iraq for seven months.

JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said it was time for Council members to go beyond the acrimony, narrow political ambitions and separate agendas that had hamstrung the Council in recent months and seize the opportunity to make good on their responsibilities. It was time that the Council looked to the future for Iraq and the Iraqi people. It was time that the Council focused on what was at stake, and provided the guidance the international community was waiting for on humanitarian needs, long-term reconstruction, and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Australia was part of the coalition to disarm Iraq, he said, because it believed an Iraq with weapons of mass destruction represented a grave threat to its own and international security. Its participation in the coalition was in complete accordance with international law. Existing Council resolutions, including 687, 678 and 1441, provided authority for the use of force to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and to restore international peace and security to the region.

UMUT PAMIR (Turkey) said that the Turkish people prayed for an early end of the war in Iraq. He continued to hope that the loss of life would be minimal. Now, on the carcass of aborted diplomacy, the international community had reason to deeply regret the division that had reigned over the Council at the critical moment in history. “We are left with a call to parties to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law. We appeal to them to act in accordance with the established practices thereof”, he said.... Turning to the “vast amount of sheer disinformation with regard to Turkey” in northern Iraq, he said that Turkey upheld the territorial integrity, political sovereignty and national unity of Iraq. It would support the decisions by the Iraqi people through democratic processes. It supported attempts to put a fully representative system in place in Iraq. It also believed that the natural resources of Iraq belonged to all Iraqis. Not a sliver of scheming above and below those basic parameters could be ascribed to Turkey. His country was profoundly hurt by the cynical, self-righteous and at times insulting barrage of rhetoric emanating from certain quarters. The country could not allow another influx of refugees as it did in 1991, however, he said. Any refugee movement should be met inside Iraq and the people in distress should be provided with shelter, food and security. Turkey could not allow the PKK/KADEK terrorists marauding through parts of northern Iraq to abuse conditions of stability. At any rate, it was common knowledge that elements of the Turkish armed forces were stationed in northern Iraq. They had not been sent there yesterday, but years ago in the context of “Operation Northern Watch” in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Thanks to that operation, the Kurds living in northern Iraq received protection and humanitarian relief. Turkey had no intention of entering Iraq. Should it need to, Turkey would not enter Iraq to fight, but to monitor a refugee crisis that might unfold and to respond to immediate security concerns.

JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said that his country deplored the fact that diplomatic efforts to implement Security Council resolutions on the disarmament of Iraq had been prematurely and arbitrarily aborted, and a sovereign Member of the Organization had become subject of an outright invasion. The unilateral war against Iraq did not meet any standards of international legitimacy. It was not waged in self-defence against any armed attack. Not even by a stretch of imagination could Iraq, after 12 years of comprehensive sanctions, be considered an imminent threat against the national security of the belligerent Powers.... His country, which shared long borders with Iraq and was dangerously close to the theatre of hostilities, had not only received refugees, but also rockets and missiles from both sides, he continued. In that connection, he registered his Government’s strongest protests and underlined the imperative of taking remedial and preventive measures by the belligerents. The provisions of international law should be promoted and enforced in their entirety. Selectivity was not only unacceptable, but, in fact, dangerously impractical.
The UN Security Council's open meeting on Iraq resumes at 9:30 AM ET, with Security Council members themselves slated to speak at the end of the debate.

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