"We gather together nonviolently to oppose a war on Iraq"

Statement on Colin Powell's Presentation to the UN Security Council

February 6, 2003

We have studied carefully the declarations of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, and acknowledge that they present further evidence of serious and troubling behavior on the part of the Iraqi rÈgime. We have also studied the responses of the other members of the UN Security Council to this evidence. We remain committed to our opposition to a war on Iraq. As a justification for a war against Iraq, Secretary Powell's presentation was unconvincing for the following reasons, each of which has been expressed by more than one member of the UN Security Council:

1) The weapons inspections in Iraq are, in fact, working. More than 100 weapons inspectors have been deployed, on average 300 inspections a month have been taking place, and inspections are continuing.

2) Secretary Powell does not explain why this information has not already been communicated to the inspectors, as called for by paragraph 10 of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. We call on our government to provide without delay all relevant information in its possession to the UN inspectors, as other nations have done.

3) The UN, not the White House, should be the center of decision-making with regard to any military action against Iraq. Secretary Powell did not demonstrate the existence of a situation that would justify an attack by the United States without UN Security Council approval.

4) A proposal to strengthen the weapons inspection process has been advanced which includes doubling or tripling the number of inspectors, setting up an international surveillance body, deploying observation aircraft, establishing a collective information processing center, ranking unresolved disarmament questions by common accord, and laying down a strict and realistic time frame. We endorse this proposal as preferable to a war against the Iraqi rÈgime.

5) Because of its horrific costs and incalculable consequences, nations and their leaders have a moral duty to avoid this war if possible, and a real possibility of avoiding a war on Iraq still exists.

6) Given the danger posed by international terrorists, maintaining international unity in the world's response to this challenge is a high priority that would be undermined by a war waged by a US-led coalition in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution supporting it.

7) The official position of the government of Iraq is that it accepts the international community's right to demand verification that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction, and Iraqi cooperation to date, while not total, has been sufficiently extensive to justify the continuation of the inspections process.

8) TIME IS NOT RUNNING OUT. Only the US and Britain say that time is short. In fact, UN Security Council Resolution 1441 imposes no time limits, and under paragraph 11 of the resolution it is up to the Executive Chairman of UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (Hans Blix) and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Mohamed ElBaradei) to report Iraq's failure to comply with its disarmament obligations to the UN Security Council. This they have not yet done in terms that would justify a war.

THEREFORE, WE DEPLORE statements from US government officials saying that the present crisis must be resolved within a matter of weeks;

AND WE CALL ON OUR LEADERS to work to maintain the unity of the international community on the matter of Iraq.


"We gather together nonviolently to oppose a war on Iraq"