South African President, Thabo Mbeki

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Posted by Esperanza from ( on Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 2:04PM :

“It is Possible to Avoid War [with Iraq] and at the same time Destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Says Thabo Mbeki

South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Tuesday that it would be possible both to avoid war with Iraq and at the same time to destroy weapons of mass destruction “if there are any.”

Speaking here to journalists at the end of the 1st Extra Ordinary Session of the African Union, Mbeki, who is also the current chairman of the AU, said the last war with Iraq had resulted in a rise in oil prices and some African countries could not come out of that debt until now.

Mbeki said that if there was going to be war with Iraq, it would have a serious bearing on Africa, and all the development programs on the continent would be at stake.

At the opening of the 1st Extra Ordinary Session of the African Union on Monday, Mbeki also urged African leaders to do all in their power to resolve the crisis in Iraq peacefully.

The Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution of the African Union on Monday issued a declaration expressing its “deep concern over the heightened international tension arising from the issue of the disarmament of Iraq.”

“The Central Organ is of the view that a military confrontation in Iraq would be a destabilizing factor for the whole region and would have far-reaching economic and security consequences for all the countries of the world and, particularly, for those of Africa,” the declaration said.

“The Central organ, under these circumstances reiterates its commitment to the effective implementation of Resolution 1441 which requires that all weapons of mass destruction in Iraq should be eliminated and that Iraq should cooperate fully with the UN Inspection Team in this regard.”

The Central Organ also declared that the territorial integrity of Iraq should be respected and “any new decision on the matter should emanate from the UN Security Council, after a consideration of the final report of the inspection team.”

-- Esperanza
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