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India condemns Iraq war, seeks UN intervention

Urging UNSC to unite to ensure a stable future for Iraq, India has termed the US-led action against Saddam regime as "unjustified"

world Updated: Mar 27, 2003 13:28 IST

Strongly urging UN Security Council to unite to ensure a stable future for Iraqi people, India has termed the US-led military action against the Saddam Hussein regime as "unjustified" and called for all possible efforts to bring "hostilities" to an early end.

"One can have differences over the necessity of war but one cannot have differences about the urgent need to restore peace," India's UN Ambassador Vijay K Nambiar said during the first Council debate on Iraq since the war began.

He said the main focus of the Council should have been to secure Iraq's cooperation with weapons inspection regime and it compliance with all Council resolutions.

"That, unfortunately, did not happen. As it is, we are now presented with a situation where some members have decided to proceed unilaterally," he said, stressing the need to work for "ending hostilities and bringing peace."

India, Nambiar told the Council, is prepared fully to participate in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts of Iraq and its people which would "inevitably be required as a result of the current conflict."

It would also support any efforts designed to provide relief to the civilian population of Basra and other parts of the country in need for urgent assistance, he said.

"Our long-standing friendship with the people of Iraq would demand nothing less of us: we would be happy to discharge our duty to share this burden," he said.

Nambiar also stressed the need for maintaining sovereignty and integrity of the country, preserving its secular traditions and ensuring that Iraqis exercise full control over their natural resources.

Emphasizing that integrity of Iraq must be preserved, he said, "Sectarian and ethnic conflicts should not be allowed to divide the country. The right of the people to determine their political future and exercise control over their natural resources should be fully respected."

Nambiar also expressed concern over the "lives involved - Iraqi and others" as also about refugee flows.

Referring to the 'oil-for-food' programme which the Council is trying to modify to meet the reality on the ground, he said that approved contracts for supplies to Iraq would be logical priority for delivering immediate assistance to the Iraqi people.

His remarks are in the context of Secretary General Kofi Annan seeking the Council authorization to prioritize delivery of supplies and renegotiate contracts to Iraq.

The international community, Nambiar said, must quickly get involved in restoring peace in Iraq, in the eventual reconstruction of the country and in alleviating the plight of long suffering people."

"We urge the Council to display the required unity and collective will to be able to assist the Iraqi people in this endeavour," he said.

First Published: Mar 27, 2003 12:03 IST