European Parliament Opposes War On Iraq
January 30, 2003
A number of European Parliament members hold up anti-war banners
BRUSSELS, January 30 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) - The European
parliament warned Thursday, January 30, against unilateral military
action on Iraq.
In a resolution backed by 287 deputies with 209 voting against, European
lawmakers also agreed that preemptive military strikes would be illegal,
Agence France-Presse (AFP) said.
The European parliament "expresses its opposition to any unilateral
military action and believes that a preemptive strike would not be in
accordance with international law," said the resolution.
Twenty-six deputies in the legislative assembly in Brussels abstained
from voting, which came after a parliamentary debate on Iraq on
Wednesday, January 29.
The resolution comes amid disarray in the 15-member bloc over how to
respond to the U.S. plans to attack Iraq.
In its resolution, the European parliament said that any further action
in the crisis must be taken by the U.N. Security Council after a full
evaluation of the situation.
So called violations of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 identified
so far do not justify launching war against Iraq, added the assembly,
which has only a consultative role in E.U. foreign policy-making.
The resolution also called for the International Criminal Court to
investigate Iraqi President Saddam Husseinís alleged responsibility for
genocide and other war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The EU's disunity was further underlined Thursday with an open letter by
eight European leaders expressing support for the United States.
The leaders of Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy,
Poland, Portugal and Spain warned that the credibility of the United
Nations was on the line over Iraq.
"We cannot allow a dictator to systematically violate (U.N.)
resolutions," said the letter, seen as a sharp snub to France and
Germany, which have been championing the anti-war camp in Europe.
In a debate Wednesday, the majority of European legislators lined up to
warn against the threat of war.
Blair, Aznar Behind Letter
Britain and Spain initiated Thursday's joint letter by eight European
leaders backing the United States on Iraq, Hungarian Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs said.
"There has been an initiative by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar," Kovacs told AFP.
Hungary asked for "some modifications" before adding its voice to seven
other European states who signed the text, Kovacs said.
No Excuse for War: Solana
E.U. foreign policy chief Javier Solana told the assembly that the case
for war is not yet made, and warned the West must not slip into war with
"There can be no excuse for slipping into war because of the dictates of
logistics or the weather," he said, adding: "The case for war must be
overwhelming. So far it is not."
Separately, the parliament also called Thursday on Solana to advise the
U.S. administration that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a top
priority for the E.U.
Solana appealed Wednesday to Israeli election winner Ariel Sharon to form
a coalition able to forge peace in the Middle East.
Germany Urges Common Stance
Meanwhile, Germany urged its E.U. partners Thursday to implement their
common position on Iraq after the eight-signed open letter.
"The strength of the Union is in its common position," government
spokesman Bela Anda said in a statement.
He said Berlin understood the joint letter, published Thursday, to
support much of what it had also been urging: that all sides should try
to resolve the crisis peacefully and Iraq should comply with U.N.
Anda referred to Monday's meeting of E.U. foreign ministers when they
called for U.N. weapons inspections to continue and on Iraq to fully
comply with U.N. resolutions.