The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Note that contributor Nathaniel Hurd again joins fellow stalwarts Glen Rangwalla and Colin Rowat as a mainstream news source ... === http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1045511540157&p=1031119383196 Source: Mark Turner, "Annan Moves to Stress UN's Principles", Financial Times, 11 March 2003 [begin] Kofi Annan's dramatic intervention this week on the legality and consequences of a war in Iraq marked a growing belief in United Nations circles that the time has come for the body to issue a more public defence of its guiding principles. "If the US and others were to go outside the [Security] Council and take military action, it would not be in conformity with the [UN] Charter," the UN secretary-general told journalists at the Hague. "All around the globe, people want to see this crisis resolved peacefully," he said. "In certain circumstances the use of force may be necessary to secure a lasting peace. But the reality is that it would cause great human suffering, whether it is long or short; that it may lead to regional instability and economic crises; and it can - as it often has before - lead to unintended consequences, producing new threats and dangers." These were important words, touching on the most difficult issues facing the world body. According to Shashi Tharoor, undersecretary-general, the UN has two clear elements, often confused. One is to provide a forum where sovereign states reach decisions; the other is to climb into the trenches and put the Charter's principles into practice. "There's always been considerable confusion in the minds of the world public between UN as stag and the UN as actor," said Mr Tharoor. In times of Council agreement the two mesh well. In times of disagreement, as now, the UN faces deep difficulties. Recognising the difficulty of action without agreement, Mr Annan's public comments have until recently focused upon maintaining Council unity. But as war approaches, his relative reticence on a war's potential consequences has upset an increasingly influential community of non governmental organisations (NGOs). "Many in the NGO community and the UN system have been concerned that the secretary-general has failed to forcefully and publicly advocate on behalf of Iraqi civilians and international law," said Nathaniel Hurd, an NGO adviser on UN Iraq policy. "He should highlight with more vigour the fact that after the Gulf war and 12 years of economic sanctions, many Iraqi civilians are extremely vulnerable - at risk of death - if the US attacks Iraq." Advisers stress that behind the scenes, Mr Annan has worked hard to stress the UN's principles. But the decision has now been taken to highlight them more publicly. "Having concentrated on private diplomacy, he felt the moment had come to remind the public where he stands," said Edward Mortimer, an adviser to Mr Annan. The question now is how much further he is prepared to go; many people are asking whether Mr Annan will attempt a trip to Baghdad. So far he appears very reluctant to do so without a clear Security Council mandate. His last visit, in 1998, is widely seen to have been a mistake. This time round, Mr Annan is more cautious. "In the present circumstances, I'm not sure what a visit to Iraq would achieve, and what message one would take to Iraq," he said. [end] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk