Wales:Plaid CymruVotesAgainst IraqWar

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Posted by andreas from ( on Saturday, September 21, 2002 at 1:46PM :

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Saturday, 21 September, 2002, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK

Plaid [Cymru]votes against war on Iraq

The Iraq debate was the longest of the 2002 conference

Delegates at the Plaid Cymru annual conference in Llandudno have voted unanimously against Britain going to war with Iraq.
In the longest debate of the weekend, they called for the government to oppose any military action by the US, and for an end to economic sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We were saying Saddam Hussein was a dangerous man in the 80s when the British Government was selling him arms

Jill Evans, MEP "

And they want the people of Wales to strike for an hour in protest if air strikes are launched against the Baghdad dictator.

But the anti-war stance came only after a passionate debate on Palestine in which for the first time in the party's history, the rank-and-file criticised the debate for being anti-Israeli and too pro-Palestinian.

Two guests at the debate at North Wales Theatre, a Palestinian woman and an Israeli woman, spoke out against Israel's "military state" and said the occupation of the West Bank was destroying both Palestinian and Israeli society.

Two delegates complained the motion on Palestine used intemperate language rather than the language of diplomacy needed to diffuse a tense situation.

But speakers were unanimous in their condemnation of any possible military action in Iraq.

Jill Evans: War would be disastrous

Euro MP Jill Evans, said: "War against Iraq would be disastrous and would cause even more instability in the Middle East.

"Of course Saddam Hussein is a dangerous man who has persecuted the people of Iraq.

"We were saying that in the 80s when the British Government was selling him arms.

"We all want to see a democratic government in Iraq but more bloodshed won't achieve that."

The debate on Iraq lasted 50 minutes, far more than the discussions on any other topic during the conference.

Delegates were united in their objection to George W Bush's perceived intention to take military action against the man who survived his father's Desert Storm campaign to liberate Kuwait.

Adam Price: Bush has already declared war

Adam Price, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, claimed President Bush has, in effect, already declared war against Iraq.

But he argued there was no case for war and that arguments being used so far were not based fact but were based on fear.

Simon Thomas, MP for Ceredigion, claimed America was making " a monkey" out of the United Nations.

He said a legitimate case for intervention could have been made for Rwanda and that it was probably justified to intervene in Bosnia, but there was not case for intervention now in Iraq.

He added that the party would oppose war at every possible opportunity because it would be completely unjustified.

Euro MP Eurig Wyn said two million people had died in Iraq because of the West's economic sanctions and that many more would die as a consequence of any war.

The delegates voted unanimously to call "on the British Government resolutely to oppose any military attack on Iraq by the United States armed forces".

They also called for an end to economic sanctions and called on the people of Wales to stop work for an hour as a protest if or when a bombing campaign begins.

-- andreas
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