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Statement by the External Affairs Ministry on the current situation related to Iraq

New Delhi
March 18, 2003

The Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of External Affairs about the current situation in relation to Iraq.

As the latest Iraqi crisis has unfolded, India has taken the consistent position that Iraq must fully comply with UN Security Council Resolutions for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction from its territory.  Our counsel has been against war and in favour of peace.  We have emphasized that all decisions on Iraq must be taken under the authority of the United Nations.  We have stated that any move for change in regime in Iraq should come from within and not be imposed from outside.  We have also been drawing attention to the precarious humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people which war would only aggravate.

We are deeply disappointed by the inability of the UN Security Council to act collectively, specially the failure of the Permanent Members to harmonise their positions on Iraq.

As long as the peaceful disarmament of Iraq has the slightest chance, we would continue to urge caution, self-restraint and high sense of responsibility on the part of concerned parties.

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