BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 00:12 GMT 01:12 UK
UN members speak out on Iraq
The debate goes on in the Security Council
Non-aligned states are being given a chance to speak
Arab and non-aligned nations have been using a UN debate on Iraq to express their opposition to a new resolution explicitly permitting military action which Washington is pushing for.

The non-binding debate was requested by South Africa's ambassador and spokesman for the non-aligned nations movement, Dumisani Kumalo, to give countries without seats on the Security Council a platform to express their views.


The United States wants the United Nations to give it a blank cheque to occupy Iraq, and not only Iraq but the entire Arab Middle East

Mohamed Al-Douri, Iraqi UN ambassador
The five permanent members of the Council are still divided over the prospect of military action, with Russia saying the latest American draft remains unacceptable.

Moscow's view is backed by French President Jacques Chirac who is reported as saying he is "completely hostile" to any automatic authorisation of force if Iraq contravened a new resolution.

Open in new window : Who backs war?
Where key nations stand on Iraq

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the meeting to work towards a new resolution - without which inspectors have now said they will not return to Baghdad and their mission of assessing whether Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction.

The BBC's world affairs correspondent at UN headquarters, Mark Doyle, said most the speakers from the Muslim world have emphasised the importance of broad-based UN action.

Iraqi sarin rockets being destroyed
The US says Iraq is reconstructing banned weapons

Our correspondent says that is diplomatic speak for trying to rein in the US and try everything short of military action first.

The ambassador of the Arab League said the West was applying double standards because Israel had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat to the stability of the Middle East region.

The Iraqi ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Al-Douri, accused the US of aiming to colonise Iraq in order to control the region's oil reserves.

"The United States wants the United Nations to give it a blank cheque to occupy Iraq, and not only Iraq but the entire Arab Middle East," Mr Al-Douri said.

Several speakers quoted the UN charter's opening words, saying the organisation was founded "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war".

Growing division

But Australia gave strong support to the American position, saying Iraq had broken many promises in the past.

This debate, which is scheduled to last two days, will not be followed by a resolution vote - that task is left to the Security Council.

If a Security Council resolution is to pass, it must avoid a veto from any of the permanent members - the US, Russia, France, Britain and China.

But the Council itself is having trouble reaching a consensus.

In Washington, US President George W Bush has signed into law a Congressional resolution authorising him to launch military action.

But Russia has now come down firmly against US and moved to the side of France - which wants one resolution to get the inspectors back in and a second threatening force only if they are not allowed to do their work.

Our correspondent says that on the evidence of Wednesday's debate, the broader membership of the UN appears to lean towards the French tactics.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Peter Biles
"At the UN there's been only limited support for the Americans"
Dumisani Kumalo, UN Ambassador for South Africa
"It there is a chance for peace, we would rather take it"
Arab League's ambassador to UN Yahir Mahmassani
"There shouldn't be double standards...lets look at Israel"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

16 Oct 02 | Europe
15 Oct 02 | Middle East
15 Oct 02 | Middle East
13 Oct 02 | Middle East
12 Oct 02 | Middle East
15 Oct 02 | Middle East
11 Oct 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes