Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq
at the 56th Session
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I am happy to extend to you my congratulations on your election to the Presidency of the General Assembly at its present important session. We are fully confident that you will guide its work towards complete success. I am also pleased to congratulate the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, on his reappointment for a second term.
This session of the General Assembly acquires special importance by the fact that it is being held at a time when the international family is facing increasingly aggravated problems. The deterioration in the international political and economic environment has reached a point where dangers have come to threaten the very core of the individual and collective security of the Member States and the future of humanity as a whole.
The state of instability in international relations has widened as a result of unilateral management of international affairs on the basis of the law of brute force. There has been a proliferation of such phenomena as unilateral use of force, encroachment on international law and the Charter of the United Nations, political blackmail, blockades, and violation of peoples' rights to determine their own political, economic and social choices. The suffering of the peoples of the Third World has increased as a result of the lack of economic and social development and the widespread tendencies among wealthy nations to impose their economic hegemony and technical and scientific blockades undercover of globalization. Attempts are escalating to impose certain cultures on the peoples of the world, to heap scorn on their religious beliefs and creeds and their political and social choices, and to preach the clash of civilizations and the launching of new crusades. It was under these circumstances that the events of September 11 in the United States took place, with all the ensuing suffering and victims. While we have offered our sincere condolences to the American people and the families of the victims of these events, Iraq has expressed its hope that the United States will deal with these events in a spirit of wisdom and responsibility by undertaking a comprehensive review of its policies towards other peoples and States with a view to finding the ways to ensure security, stability and peace for the people of the United States and for all the peoples of the world.
The United States, however, has once again resorted to the logic of brute force; hence, its aggression against Afghanistan. Then came the use of biological materials in subversive operations whose source, according to American authorities, is most likely to be found in the United States. All this was accompanied by Western media campaigns intended to kindle feelings of rancor, hatred and chauvinism and to spread the fires of war and aggression in the world, thus confirming that the present international order is extremely fragile and that the fires of any conflagration therein could spread to the whole world. Indeed, wide as it is, the world could be set on fire by a spark coming from the West, and it is in need of saving itself from falling into a bottomless abyss to which it is being pushed by policies that have their roots in conceitedness, arrogance, injustice and aggression. The world is in need of predicating justice on fairness; it is not in need of the use of force on the basis of sheer possession of power and available opportunity. Perceiving the dangers to which the world is being exposed, our Leader His Excellency President Saddam Hussein of the Republic of Iraq has called for acting with wisdom and sense to spare humankind the scourges of vengeance, wars, rancor and hatred, and on 29 October 2001 he launched an initiative calling for the world to cooperate, on the basis of a global convention, to rid itself of the burden and danger of weapons of mass destruction, in the forefront of which are the huge arsenal of such weapons stockpiled primarily in the United States and secondarily in the Zionist entity. In his initiative, His Excellency President Saddam Hussein emphasized that "When the United States begins to divest itself of its weapons of mass destruction with the rest of the world following suit, the United States will find its way to the paths of wisdom. The world will treat it with respect and love after sensing the respect and love coming from it. The world, including the United States, will then have peace rather than stand at the brink of the abyss."
We call from this forum for putting
sense and wisdom and the force of law above impetuosity,
Iraq has suffered and continues to suffer from aggression and terrorism. Its leaders, officials and nationals have been subjected to numerous terrorist attempts on their lives. Its towns and villages have been targeted by many acts of terrorism at the hands of terrorist infiltrators coming from across the border who are sponsored, trained, financed and armed within the framework of state terrorism. The Iraqi nuclear reactor devoted to peaceful purposes was the target of a terrorist attack by aircraft of the Zionist entity in 1981. Also, Iraq's towns and villages and economic, scientific and cultural facilities were subjected to systematic destruction in the course of the aggression launched by the United States and Britain and their Allies in 1991 and the five large-scale aggressions which followed in 1993, 1996, 1998, and 2001. Furthermore, for eleven years now Iraq has suffered and continues to suffer from the comprehensive sanctions which deprives the people of Iraq of their basic needs and which has so far mowed down the lives of 1.6 million Iraqi civilians, the majority of whom are children and the elderly. Both the aggression and the comprehensive sanctions constitute a systematic state terrorism directed against a whole people. The daily aggression launched by American and British aircraft' against Iraqi towns and villages within the so-called No-Fly Zones imposed by these two States on the basis of a unilateral and illegal decision taken in flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law is also state terrorism. We must also point to the explosions carried out in certain Iraqi border areas by elements of mercenary infiltrators from across the border who are financed, armed and harbored by certain States, including the United States which openly spends tens of millions of dollars on mercenary bands for the purpose of carrying out terrorist operations in Iraq under the so called Iraq Liberation Act. "Terrorism" as a designation is also true of the use by the United States and Britain of more than 300 tons of depleted uranium ammunitions against the people of Iraq in 1991, a matter which has led to a rise in the cases of embryonic deformities, a tenfold increase in cancer cases and the pollution of the environment of the region for many generations to come by the ensuing toxic and: radiological effects. All these and other acts which violate the principles of international law are acts of terrorism. In' the face' of these acts of terrorism and aggression, Iraq has made prodigious sacrifices in defense of its sovereignty, its independence, its dignity and its national choices. Its brave people today are more resolved than at any time in the past to take pride in and cherish its national leadership, holding fast to its sovereignty, its dignity and its national interests, defending its independence and its political choices, and defying all the evil intentions that stand behind the aggression and acts of terrorism directed against it.
The fact that Iraq is a victim of international terrorism has caused it to be among the first to call for combating terrorism. Iraqi national legislation has provided for harsher punishments of terrorist acts. Iraq has signed and ratified most international conventions in force against terrorism. It is Iraq's view that, in- order to confront international terrorism, including state terrorism, it is necessary to initiate under the umbrella of the United Nations an international effort to reach agreement on a definition of terrorism and on the ways to combat it in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Iraq is prepared to participate actively in such an international effort to combat terrorism in all its forms, whether perpetrated by individuals, by groups or by States. Here, it is necessary to emphasize the natural, inalienable right of all peoples to defend their' sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as to struggle against the various forms of terrorism, including foreign occupation, colonialist control and aggression in all its military and economic forms, intervention in the internal affairs of States, and instigating and financing ethnic and religious conflicts amongst the peoples of the world -- all of which rights are embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and international law.
In discussing the question of reforming the current, unsound, state of international relations, we must paint out the need to reform the international mechanisms, foremost among which is the Security Council, to which States Members of the United Nations have entrusted the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The practices of the Security Council, especially in the last eleven years, have made it clear that the Council is no longer true to its role as specified in the Charter; that it has become a tool for implementing the policies of one single State; and that it now stands as the glaring model practitioner of double standards. Suffice it to cite, as just one example among many, the fact that the comprehensive sanctions imposed by the Council on Iraq constitute a flagrant violation of the Charter and the mandate of the Council. This was admitted by the United Nations itself: as stated in the report entitled "the Right to Food" submitted with the Secretary General's note of 23 July 2001(Document A/56/210), "There can be little doubt that subjecting the Iraqi people to a harsh economic embargo since 1991 has placed the United Nations in a clear violation of the obligation to respect the right to food of people in Iraq." Likewise, the expert of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights had this to say on the subject (Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/33 dated 21 June 2000): "The sanctions regime against Iraq is unequivocally illegal under existing international humanitarian law and human rights law. Some would go as far as making a charge of genocide."
We therefore call for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council that would lead to the expansion of its membership and the reform of its methods of work, with specific reference to its decision-making process, so as to ensure full respect on its part for the purposes and principles of the Charter and the principle of democracy in international relations. It has also become necessary to establish a mechanism for judicial review and for ruling on the legality and constitutionality of Security Council resolutions in order to: ensure that these resolutions are consistent and not in conflict with the objectives and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and with international law. We are of the opinion that Member States should be enabled to resort to the International Court of Justice to appeal resolutions of the Security Council which these States consider as involving infringement of the principles of the Charter and international law. We shall thus be able to remedy this flagrant deviation from all democratic, judicial and legal norms and principles in the work and mandate of the Security Council.
Pending the completion of the process of reforming the Security Council and ensuring the performance of its role in conformity with the Charter, States Members of the United Nations should reconsider their authorization to the Council to act in their behalf in the maintenance of international peace and security since the Council has misused that authorization. There is no more obvious case in this regard than that of the comprehensive sanctions imposed, on Iraq. No fair-dealing State could afford to remain just a spectator while seeing that the authorization it granted to the Security Council has been used to annihilate the people of Iraq. It is the legal and moral obligation of all States that: respect international law and the Charter of the United Nations to declare that they are not part of this crime and that they did not authorize the Security Council to kill the children of Iraq in their name. The comprehensive sanctions imposed on Iraq have inflicted enormous damage on the interests of a considerable number of the countries of the world, and these countries are called upon to put a stop to this illegal damage being inflicted on them and to restore their trade relations with Iraq in implementation of Article 50 of the Charter.
The systematic terrorism to which the people of Palestine are being subjected by the Zionist entity, the founder and primary source of terrorism, as represented by the bombing of towns, villages, camps and Islamic and Christian houses of worship as well as by political assassinations, imposition of collective punishments, occupation of Muslim holy sites, use of depleted uranium ammunitions and poison gases, bulldozing of farms, and confiscation of lands --his systematic terrorism demands a reaction on the part of the international community that is commensurate with the gravity of these genocidal practices against a whole people. Similarly, the systematic destruction to which the Afghan people are being subjected at the hands of the American military machine is an illegal unilateral use of force and should come to an end. I should like to refer here to the Secretary General's 1999 Annual Report on the Work of the Organization in which he stated: " . . . enforcement actions without Security Council authorization threaten the very core of the international security system founded on the Charter of the United Nations." We demand a halt to the interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and allowing the Afghan people to decide their own political choices in conformity with their national interests without any external interference whatever the pretext may be.
The United Nations was founded for the purpose of achieving security, peace and stability so that social and economic progress for all peoples might be promoted by a number of means, including avoidance of wars and conflicts. What we witness today is that two thirds of the population of the world suffer from underdevelopment and live in misery, while the few live in prosperity. What is required is to reactivate the role of the United Nations in the search for a balanced international economic policy that will lead to greater equality among peoples and States, lessen the intensity of political conflicts and feelings of frustration, engage all as partners in building the world economy, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, and bring about a better life for peoples. Efforts to reform the international political environment will not meet with the desired success if they are not accompanied by efforts to reform the economic environment with a view to extending prosperity to all humankind. We must remember that the vast resources with which God Almighty has favoured our planet earth are capable of achieving prosperity, security and stability for all. What we need is the conviction that all human beings are equal in terms of their human worth, and to work hard to avoid and stop any violation of this truth by policies and actions that disturb the tranquility of international relations.
Thank you, Mr. President,