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Media Statement regarding the United States attacks on Afghanistan Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee "We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretext whatsoever." Quaker Declaration to Charles II, 1661. Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee call for an immediate end to the United States attacks on Afghanistan. We are sure that such military actions will exacerbate and not solve the problem of why the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were attacked. We say this because it seems certain that the attacks on the United States were mainly in response to the means by which they have pursued their political and economic objectives in many parts of the world. Iraq is a current example, with around 1,500,000 deaths due almost entirely to the destruction by United States forces in 1991 of practically the entire civilian infrastructure. That destruction was planned to achieve the results we see today. The misuse of the "dual use" clause by the United States in the Sanctions Committee has added to the suffering. A completely unacceptable aspect of the bombing of Afghanistan, apart from its already having caused civilian deaths and injuries, is that it is causing hundreds of thousands of already poverty- stricken and hungry people to leave their homes and seek asylum in neighbouring countries. This does not appear to be consistent with Article 2141 of the United Nations Charter which requires that force shall not by used in any manner that is inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. We agree with United Nations staff (and the Médecins Sans Frontieres) involved in famine relief in Afghanistan who say that the United States offer of "aid" is merely a political ploy, and if a major disaster is even to be minimised the United Nations aid programme must be allowed to go ahead unhampered either by bombing or by token aid dropped inaccurately from military aircraft. We point out that, while the United Nations Charter allows states to act in self-defence, Article 33 requires that parties to a dispute shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies, or other peaceful means. Not until all such means are exhausted can force be used. The dispute in this case is that the Taliban will not accede to United States demands that they surrender Osama bin Laden to them. We draw attention to the following report: "UNITED NATIONS, Oct 6 (IPS) - The overriding messages from this week's General Assembly debate over terrorism are that retribution should be secondary to building a global anti-terrorism alliance that addresses the causes of violence - and that this alliance should be led by the United Nations, not the United States." We are happy for NZ to engage in United Nations-approved, truly international policing actions to deter world terrorism, and we hope that we may play our part in international mediation. We do not want New Zealand to be engaged in a war controlled and managed by the United States against whichever unfortunate nations are named as their enemies at the time. The United States' best friends are those who will tell them that their only real means of defence will be, (1) to cease their own acts of terrorism, (2) to begin to make amends for the damage done, (3) to bring criminal acts of terrorism to justice through legal channels (we are heartened in this regard to note Britain's recent decision to ratify the International Criminal Court treaty). We want to say to the United States that such military interventionism as has been practised by them and other States, has no place in a world seeking ways to live amicably and without terrorism. Tony Maturin, 4 Hoggard St,. Vogeltown, Wellington. For Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.