US 'war machine' must be stopped
21/02/2003 10:11 - (SA)
Kuala Lumpur - Iraq is warning officials of the 114-nation Non-Aligned Movement that the "American machine of war" will threaten their countries unless they help prevent a US-led attack, but a draft summit declaration on Friday urged Baghdad to cooperate "fully" with the United Nations and disarm.
Senior officials from the mostly developing nations were discussing wording of declarations on Iraq to be issued on Tuesday after a two-day summit, expected to be dominated by fears that any US-led attempt to use force to disarm Iraq could trigger political and economic instability.
Iraqi diplomat Akila Al-Hashimi, who is involved in those discussions, said her country's delegates have told other countries "the defence of Iraq is now the defence of the civilised world."
"This war is just like a machine, and if it is not stopped with Iraq, the American machine of war will continue rolling over Third World countries," Al-Hashimi told reporters on the sidelines of preparatory meetings for the summit.
Al-Hashimi, plenipotentiary minister for foreign affairs, said that a "firm and strong position from the Non-Aligned Movement may stop any American aggression against Iraq".
In the draft summit declaration circulating among delegates, the nations "affirmed their categorical rejection of assaulting Iraq" but also urges Baghdad to "fully and actively" cooperate in implementing UN Security Council resolution 1441 requiring Iraq to give up weapons of mass destruction.
It demands a lifting of economic sanctions imposed after the Gulf war and calls for no interference in Iraq's internal affairs.
The draft also expresses support for Kuwait, which was invaded by Saddam Hussein's army in 1990 and occupied for seven months before the Iraqi forces were expelled in the Gulf War. Kuwait is now the main staging area for a possible US invasion of Iraq.
Iraq is praised in the draft for recently declaring that it would respect Kuwait's borders, but the document says that non-aligned nations were "disturbed by the latest Iraqi official statement against Kuwait, which contained tirade and hostile language toward Kuwait".
Foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement - formed five decades ago to steer a neutral path between the Soviet and western blocs - meet Saturday and Sunday, and leaders meet on Monday and Tuesday to adopt final statements.
Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Lauro Baja said the threat of an Iraq war was the summit's most pressing issue, and that many participants -most African, Asian, Arab and Latin American nations - agree that "war should be the last resort".
Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno said: "An aggression against Iraq would be disastrous for humanity. The United States would feel free to commit aggressions against any country."
Six non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - Angola, Cameroon,
Chile, Guinea, Pakistan and Syria - belong to the Non-Aligned Movement. Washington,
which claims Baghdad has not eliminated banned weapons of mass destruction,
needs their support for a resolution, currently being drafted, that could authorise
war against Iraq. - Sapa-AP