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Concluding debate on Iraq, Security Council hears from over 30 more countries

Concluding debate on Iraq, Security Council hears from over 30 more countries

UN Security Council in session
Concluding its latest debate on the next steps in the disarmament of Iraq, the United Nations Security Council today heard the views of some 30 more countries.

The Council had suspended its discussion Tuesday evening after hearing from representatives of 26 countries and one observer. The open meeting had been requested by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in order to give the wider UN membership an opportunity to express their views on the inspection process in Iraq to the 15-nation body.

Echoing the sentiments of several delegations yesterday, many of the 36 speakers today supported bolstering the ongoing inspections by the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and opposed the use of military force. They noted Iraq's cooperation with the UN inspectors thus far and urged that the inspectors should be given more time. Only as a last resort should armed action be considered, they stressed.

Several speakers also voiced concern about the unknown consequences for the region caused by the current Iraq crisis, particularly the humanitarian aspect of a military conflict. War would create a new catastrophe for the Iraqi people and their immediate neighbours. Under any scenario, innocent people of Iraq would be among the first to suffer following an outbreak of armed conflict. It was incumbent upon Iraq, therefore, to be completely forthcoming with the UN inspectors, in order to avoid the even greater suffering of its people.

Many countries called on Iraq to comply immediately and unconditionally with Security Council resolutions, and to cooperate more proactively with the inspection process. Barring that, the Council must not wait forever to confront the issue but move quickly to consider a new resolution that dealt decisively with Iraq's failure or risk losing credibility. The threat of force must be maintained in order to keep the pressure on Baghdad to bring about its disarmament.


to UN Radio report image