World Leaders Denounce U.S. War Plans Against Iraq

August 9, 2002

In recent days, governmental leaders in many countries have spoken out in opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq.

-- On August 7, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal told the Associated Press that Saudi Arabia will not allow its soil to be used in any attack against Iraq. "We have told them we don't (want) them to use Saudi grounds." "We are against any attack on Iraq because we believe it is not needed, especially now that Iraq is moving to implement United Nations resolutions," Saud said. "... For the government of Iraq, the leadership of Iraq, any change that happens there has to come from the Iraqi people. This is our attitude." He denied that the private line to Washington was any different than the public remarks: "We couldn't have made our position more clear, our leaders have said this and everybody responsible in the kingdom has said this."

-- On the same day, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also warned Washington against launching military action against Iraq, "Other means, especially forceful, are inacceptable from the viewpoint of international law and could only exacerbate the already difficult situation," Ivanov told reporters, according to the Interfax news agency. "Russia believes it extremely important not to miss the opening opportunities for a political and diplomatic settlement of the situation around Iraq," Ivanov said, adding that recent events have "shown that Baghdad is seriously considering a possibility of the U.N. inspectors to Iraq."

-- Even German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a close ally of the U.S., said in the Bild newspaper: "The fight (against terrorism) is not yet won, and that's why I warn against an attack on Iraq. It would not be thought of as defensive and could destroy the international coalition. The Middle East needs peace, not new war. This is the goal of our policies."

-- On Tuesday August 6, in joint talks between Jordan and Turkey, both countries expressed opposition to a U.S. attack on Iraq and emphasized that "every problem in the region should be settled through peaceful means."