Meeting in MalaysiaWorld nations blast war [Archives:2003/624/Front Page]

February 24 2003

KUALA LUMPUR – Developing countries threw their weight on Friday against war on Iraq.
The issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and North Korea dominated preparatory talks before next week's summit of the 114-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Malaysian capital.
The 114 nations said in a draft resolution that the use of force against Iraq would run contrary to the global consensus that “categorically rejects the current threat of war.”
“We express our support and solidarity with Iraq vis-a-vis the possible aggression against it and are committed to exert all possible means to achieve a peaceful solution,” it said.
The draft, which delegates say is unlikely to see substantial changes, was to be approved by foreign ministers on Saturday and then by heads of state, who begin the two-day summit today, Monday.
Yemen's foreign minister Abu Bakar Al-Qirbi echoed his concern over the Iraq crisis when he maintained at the conference that Yemen sees no need for a second UN resolution which could bring the already volatile region closer to second Gulf war.
Upon his arrival in Malaysia to attend the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, he told reporters, that “Iraq is already abiding by Resolution 1441 and providing the (arms) inspectors with all the assistance.
“The position of Yemen and many in the Arab world is the same. We hope that the weapons inspectors will be given adequate time to complete their job and that the issue will be resolved through the inspectors and peaceful means.”
Officials of NAM, which includes Iran, Iraq and North Korea ) the three states branded by Bush as an “axis of evil” ) prepared the draft at a second day of talks. Singapore, Chile and Iran were among countries that asked for more time to seek approval from their governments for strongly worded amendments backing Iraq.
“We ought to stay calm. We seek a peaceful solution and to reject aggression. I hope the people of the world will say no to war,” Iraq's Foreign Minister Dr. Naji Sabri said on arrival.
While last-minute alterations underlined growing opposition to war on Iraq, the non-aligned countries hedged their bets by urging Iraq continue cooperation with UN weapons inspectors and remain actively engaged in the process. Iraq says it is doing everything it can to cooperate.
“The NAM position is very important,” said United Arab Emirates envoy Mohamad Jassam, adding that six non-aligned countries currently have seats on the 15-member UN Security Council. “Sometimes you can kill a resolution with nine votes.”
The six non-aligned nations on the Security Council are Angola, Guinea, Syria, Pakistan, Chile and Cameroon.
Malaysia expects 56 heads of state to attend the summit, with several Middle East nations sending substitutes due to uncertainty over the timing of an emergency Arab Summit in Cairo to discuss the Iraq crisis.
Kuala Lumpur has said the meeting will come down firmly against war as a solution to the Iraq crisis.
Pakistan was among those opposed to war and willing to consider more time for UN inspections.
Pakistan said it is still hopeful of a peaceful solution to the Iraqi issue although Washington plans to move a second resolution at the United Nations seeking authorization for a possible war on Iraq.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Mian Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri said he expects a strong reaction from Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world should the United States and its allies decide to wage war on President Saddam Hussein over allegations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Mehmud Kasuri, who arrived here to attend the NAM summit, said Pakistan would study the language of the proposed second resolution before making up its mind.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed gratitude to Japan on Thursday for its strong support of Washington's hard-line stance on Iraq over its alleged development of weapons of mass destruction.
He said he will ask Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Tokyo on Saturday for continued cooperation with the United States in its efforts to rid Iraq of the weapons of mass destruction it allegedly possesses. Japan urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to adopt a resolution approving use of force against Baghdad. Powell is touring Japan, China and South Korea, during which he will discuss with their leaders the situation in North Korea and a possible attack on Iraq. In Tokyo, Powell will meet with Koizumi, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba on Saturday and Sunday