Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Nation after nation from all parts of the globe demanded weapons inspectors have a chance to disarm Iraq peacefully, defying intentions by the United States and Britain to seek a resolution authorizing war.

Only Australia, Japan, Argentina and Peru, in varying degrees, supported the tough U.S.-British position during 27 presentations on Tuesday by U.N. members who do not have seats on the 15-nation Security Council. Another 29 ambassadors address the council on Wednesday.

But most speakers, many from developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as Iraq's neighbors in the Middle East, spoke out against war and backed France's position to let arms inspectors have more time to account for Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction programs.

So did Greece, New Zealand, Ukraine and Belarus.

South Africa's U.N. ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, head of the 115-member Non-Aligned movement, which called for the meeting, said that "Resorting to war without fully exhausting all other options represents an admission of failure by the Security Council in carrying out its mandate."

Iran's ambassador, Javad Zarif, whose country was invaded by neighboring Iraq in 1980, said "the prospect of another destabilizing war in our immediate vicinity is a nightmare scenario of death and destruction."...


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