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UK Peace groups

This is a useful update on what postition some well-known UK campaign
groups are taking on the Iraq issue (see 'signatories' at end).


Joint Statement on the Gulf Crisis  February 6, 1998

 "We categorically oppose a military attack on Iraq as currently threatened
by Britain and the USA. We oppose this on both ethical and practical grounds.

The ordinary people of Iraq have already suffered enough from the Iraqi
regime and from seven years of harsh economic sanctions, which according to
the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation have cost the lives of more than
half a million Iraqi children. They are the inevitable victims of any
further attacks and could suffer catastrophically if chemical or biological
weapons sites were bombed.

Military action has been ineffective in seriously influencing the Iraqi
regime in the past and there is no reason to suppose it will be any more
effective now. Indeed the most likely result of such action will be to put
an abrupt end the UN inspection process which has so far succeeded in
dismantling at least part of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological
warfare capability.

We therefore support the broad international consensus for negotiation as
the appropriate method for resolving the present inspection crisis.We
believe there is still ample room for give and take on both sides, and
would propose as a first step that the UN inspection teams should be more
broadly based and not dominated by states hostile to Iraq.

We strongly urge the British government to align itself with this broader
view, withdraw its support of the current US position and use its good
relations with the US to persuade it to seek more creative solutions to the
present crisis.

We are united in our aim to rid the world of all weapons of mass
destruction, including those held by Britain and the US, and were
particularly alarmed by the statement made last week by US Assistant
Secretary of Defence Kenneth Bacon, refusing to rule out the use of B61
deep penetration nuclear weapons as a means of achieving their military
objectives in Iraq.

The current inspection crisis is part of a larger problem involving a
massive level of arms exports to the region, especially by the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council, and an increasing
militarisation currently fuelled by lack of progress in the Middle East
peace process.  We therefore call on the British government to work towards
a de-militarised and de-nuclearised Middle East through negotiations which
encompass all the security concerns of the region."

Campaign Against Arms Trade                     Pax Christi
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)          Peace News
Quaker Peace & Service                          Peace Pledge Union
Fellowship of Reconciliation England            United Nations Association
Medical Action for Global Security              World Disarmament Campaign

Jan Melichar
Peace Pledge Union
41B Brecknock Road
London N7 0BT
tel 0171 424 9444 fax 0171 482 6390
There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.

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