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Iraq war a humanitarian catastrophe: China

China has branded the war as a 'grave humanitarian catastrophe' which has 'added uncertain factors to the stability of the Gulf region'.

world Updated: Apr 01, 2003 11:20 IST

Conveying its deep concern over the situation in Iraq to Britain, China has branded the war as a "grave humanitarian catastrophe" which has "added uncertain factors to the stability of the Gulf region".

In his first telephonic conversation with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw since Li Zhaoxing was elevated as Chinese Foreign Minister in mid-March, the latter appealed for a halt to the military action as soon as possible and to make all possible efforts to reopen the door for political settlement.

"Resorting to the use of military force to resolve the Iraq issue does not comply with the interests of all parties concerned," Li said adding the war has resulted in many innocent Iraqi civilian casualties and affected the economic development of various countries, Xinhua news agency said.

A proper settlement of the Iraq issue is eventually inseparable from the UN and China will join the international community in safeguarding the UN's role in international affairs and the authority of the UN Security Council, he said.

The UN resolution 1472, unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on March 28, is of "positive significance" in terms of adjusting the oil-for-food programme for the emergent humanitarian needs in Iraq, he said.

Straw said the British side hoped that the United Nations would play a key role in post-war arrangements in Iraq and briefed Li on the latest summit talks between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the US President George W Bush at camp David and Britain's ideas concerning post-war arrangements.

Apart from the Iraq issue, both sides had an exchange of views on the nuclear issue of North Korea and the situation between India and Pakistan, Xinhua said without elaborating.

First Published: Apr 01, 2003 11:20 IST