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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
SNP leader urges caution on Iraq
John Swinney at conference
Mr Swinney said action must have UN approval
The leader of the Scottish National Party has urged the UK Government to abide by international law before taking part in any military strike against Iraq.

Opening his party's annual conference in Inverness John Swinney said "incontrovertible evidence" of the threat from Saddam Hussein was needed before an attack could be launched.

Mr Swinney said a strike without United Nations backing would be "completely and utterly unacceptable".

The SNP chief told delegates he had no doubt Saddam was a "brutal dictator" who had "flouted the wishes of the international community" on numerous occasions.

SNP delegates
Mr Swinney won applause from delegates
But he insisted that international law had to be upheld when deciding how to deal with his threat.

The SNP leader said his party was totally opposed to any unilateral action against Iraq by individual countries without a UN mandate.

He said: "As a matter of course UN weapons inspectors must be given free and unfettered access to sites they wish to investigate in Iraq.

"Before any military offensive is launched, there must be incontrovertible evidence to justify any action.

"Any unilateral action by any country is, in this party's terms, completely and utterly unacceptable."

Swinney's warning
No war without UN sanction
Incontrovertible evidence needed
International law must be upheld
Specific UN Security Council resolution required
To applause from delegates, he added: "A fresh, specific United Nations Security Council resolution is what is required in these circumstances and this must be enforced by the UN in accordance with international law and in the name of international democracy as well."

Mr Swinney also said that more needed to be done to restore stability to the Middle East as a whole.

The remarks came after Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled his dossier on the threat posed by Iraq.

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 ON THIS STORY
Craig Anderson reports
"The SNP is stepping up its campaign for next year's elections"
See also:

25 Sep 02 | Scotland
24 Sep 02 | Scotland
20 Sep 02 | Scotland
15 Sep 02 | Scotland
20 Sep 02 | Politics
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