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Statement Regarding the Possibility of a Military Attack on Iraq
18 February 2003
Quakers in New Zealand strongly call for all nations to step well back from the brink of war to which the United States and United Kingdom governments are attempting to lead us. We do not see any conclusive or convincing evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. In any case we urge our Government to state more clearly and strongly its rejection of war as a solution to the threats posed by such weapons.
We uphold the United Nations and its peace-keeping initiatives. But we insist that military action, whether or not sanctioned by the United Nations, is totally unjustified.
The United Nations weapons inspectors are calling for more time in which to carry on with their work, and this action must be allowed to continue, without pressure being brought to bear on Security Council members, by the more powerful states, to decide otherwise.
It is our perception that the main issue for the governments of the U.S.A. and the U.K. is not about any weapons that Iraq might have, but about oil and the control of the Middle East. We fear that the United States will again attempt to manipulate the United Nations Security Council. Any United States-led attacks will again lead to war crimes on a vast scale, to say nothing of the loss of tens or hundreds of thousands of lives, and the further destruction of urban infrastructure.
We urge the New Zealand government to join with the other United Nations states that are calling for the issues to be debated in the General Assembly. We make this call to the government and people of New Zealand from our belief that international peace with justice will only occur when superpowers and those aspiring to such status become willing to talk, listen and respond to the deepest concerns of other nations and peoples. We are particularly concerned that many hard-won international agreements contributing to increasing world order are being overrun by unilateral actions of the powerful states, most particularly the U.S.A. We make this call from our hearts and from our vision of the peaceable kingdom on Earth.
Michael and Merilyn Payne, Joint Clerks,