for Companies and Delegations
Statement of the
Secretary-General on Iraq - 20 March 2003
despite the best efforts of the international community and the
United Nations, war has come to Iraq for the third time in a quarter
of a century.
if we had persevered a little longer, Iraq could yet have been
disarmed peacefully or – if not – the world could have taken
action to solve this problem by a collective decision, endowing it
with greater legitimacy, and therefore commanding wider support,
than is now the case.
let us not dwell on the divisions of the past. Let us confront the
realities of the present, however harsh, and look for ways to forge
stronger unity in the future.
thoughts today are with the Iraqi people, who face yet another
ordeal. I hope that all parties will scrupulously observe the
requirements of international humanitarian law, and will do
everything in their power to shield the civilian population from the
grim consequences of war. The United Nations, for its part, will do
whatever it can to bring them assistance and support. Let us hope
the future will be much brighter for the Iraqi people than the
recent past, and that they will soon have the chance to rebuild
their country in peace and freedom, under the rule of law.
the past weeks, the peoples of the world have shown what great
importance they attach to the legitimacy conveyed by the authority
of the United Nations. They have made clear that, in confronting
uncertainty and danger, they want to see power harnessed to
legitimacy. They want their leaders to come together, in the United
Nations, to tackle the problems shared by all humanity.
will do my utmost to ensure that the United Nations rises to this