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USWAR/Pakistan deplores attack on Iraq

 Islamabad, March 20, IRNA -- Pakistan on Thursday deplored US attack  
on Iraq, hoping that the war will be limited and that civilian        
casualties will be avoided.                                           
    "Pakistan deplores the initiation of military action against      
Iraq," Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri told a news           
conference in Islamabad .                                             
    "Pakistan had consistently called on Iraq to fulfill its UN       
Security Council disarmament obligations fully and speedily," the     
Foreign Minister said.                                                
    "We regret that President Saddam Hussein did not consider all     
options to save the Iraqi people from death and destruction," Mr.     
Kasuri said.                                                          
    He said Pakistan had stressed that the search for a peaceful      
solution should remain a priority and that all avenues must be        
explored and exhausted since the use of force is envisaged in the UN  
Charter only under extreme situations.                                
    "In the Security Council and outside, we had urged the Permanent  
members evolve a consensus, as this was their traditional             
responsibility, to ensure the unity of the council, which would have  
been the best solution for resolving the Iraq crisis," he said. He    
said it was unfortunate that a "P-5" consensus could not be reached,  
and that the efforts of the non-Permanent members, including Pakistan,
who tried their best, were not able to bridge this divide.            
    He affirmed that priority must be given to avert a humanitarian   
disaster for the Iraqi people and that civilian casualties, and       
infrastructure damage, particularly to the civic services and the     
holy places, must be strictly avoided.                                
    Mr. Kasuri stressed that military action should not prolong,      
adding that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq must be 
preserved, and its rights over its natural resources.                 
    "The fundamental rights of the people of Iraq, including over     
their governance, should be respected".                               
    He said the Security Council must resume its primary              
responsibility, under the UN Charter for the maintenance of           
international peace and security, in order to ensure these pressing   
objectives with which the international community is not faced.       
    "This course of events should not be considered as setting any    
precedent in the conduct of inter-state-relations. Pakistan firmly    
believes in preserving the centrality of the United Nations,          
observance of Charter of principles by all states, and the            
implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council without     
selective of discrimination".                                         
    The Foreign Minister said the Security Council must uphold        
international legality equitably. It must implement all Security      
Council resolutions including those on Jammu and Kashmir, and also    
Palestine, whose peoples have been struggling and dying for over fifty
years.                                                                
    "Pakistan will continue to work within the Security Council and   
elsewhere towards these international objectives and towards the      
restoration of peace and security in Iraq and the region," Kasuri     
said.                                                                 
    He said Pakistan is ready to send humanitarian assistance to      
Iraq, as our contribution to meet the humanitarian challenge with     
which the international community is now faced with, adding that the  
need of the hour is to help the Iraqi people. Pakistan will not be    
found wanting".                                                       
TK/MMZ/AR                                                             
End                                                                   

last Update Thursday, 20-Mar-2003 03:14:42 PST
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