Monday, Feb 17, 2003
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By P.S. Suryanarayana
The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said in Kuala Lumpur today that the summit might issue a special statement on Iraq. The statement would reflect NAM's unanimity against any kind of war on Iraq.
In his view, the NAM members held a strong stand on this matter. Malaysia, according to regional diplomats and analysts, was moving ahead to organise the summit on the basis of an assumption that the U.S. might not launch a military strike against Iraq before or during the summit. He said: "We will come up with a statement on Iraq at the summit".
Speaking to journalists after inaugurating a conference on peace, he said the indications of Washington's willingness to strike against Iraq, even without U.N. sanction, might, "in a way", show how "very arrogant" the U.S. was.
He said the current Iraq crisis as also the Palestine question had become matters of universal concern without being seen any longer as issues pertaining to the Islamic bloc.
Spelling out Malaysia's position on Iraq, as distinct from a possible collective stand by the NAM forum, he said the U.N. weapons inspectors should be allowed to complete their work.
Should the inspectors conclude that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, Malaysia would want the U.N. to lift the sanctions against Baghdad.
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