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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Clare Short calls for UN to lead Iraq's recovery
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¬†The Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Secretary of State for International Development, has sent the following exclusive message to Birmingham Catholic News It is now just over three weeks since military action started in Iraq, and the whole world has been haunted by the images of death and suffering we have seen on our television screens, Upsetting as this has been, I think it is good that people everywhere now see very clearly the ugliness of war - even when it is successful in overthrowing a cruel and brutal regime. I hope that this new era of global communications will make war increasingly unacceptable to the people of the world and ensure that we have other ways of resolving differences and resisting cruel and brutal tyranny. However, whatever the differences of opinion on the rights and wrong of military action in Iraq it is important that we all unite behind the urgent need to help the people of Iraq meet their basic needs and rebuild their country. We must also dedicate ourselves to securing a more just and peaceful future for all the peoples of the Middle East by establishing a Palestinian state, alongside a secure Israel so that both peoples can look forward to a better future. We must now bring the war to an end as quickly as possible; bring an end to the looting and disorder; ensure that food, water and health systems are re-established , and that the UN returns very quicky to lead the humanitarian aid. The task of winning a just peace for the people of Iraq must go hand in hand with a UN mandate for the creation of a new Iraqi government. UN Security Council members must pass a resolution requestion that the UN facilitate the transition to a democratically elected Iraqi government made up of peoples from all the regions and faiths. Without a legitimate and recognised government, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and many other institutions will not be able to get involved in supporting the people of Iraq in building their country. President Bush made clear that he accepted this vital role for the UN when he met the Prime Minister in Northern Ireland recently. Iraq is a naturally wealthy country with considerable oil resources, educated people, strong institutions and a proud history. It should be a prosperous country and in order to make progress when the conflict is over, there will need to be agreement by the international community to address the country's debt burden and outstanding reparation claims from the Gulf war. The resources of Iraq including oil, must be used for the benefit of the Iraqi people so they can forge a living and support their families into the future. This will take time but we should move forward as quickly as possible. Iraqis are a proud people. They must be supported in taking forward for themselves the rebuilding of the country. People across the Muslim world are angry at the moment because of the lack of progress towards peace between Israel and Palestine and what they see as double standards in the Middle East. We must not forget that another humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the Palestinian territories where child malnutrition levels have risen to those of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We must ensure that the road map to a Palestinian state when has been agreed between the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia is fully implemented by 2005 as laid down in the agreed plan. Catholic who want to provide immediate help to the people of Iraq should donate to CAFOD or the Red Cross. They should also be aware that as taxpayers they have already provided over £100 million to the UN and Red Cross appeals for Iraq. But they should also, through their prayers and as citizens, stand absolutely firm on the need for justice in the Middle East. This is the only way to end the suffering and reunite a fractured world around a commitment to justice and peace.
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