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Pax Christi voices concern over attacks on Libya

Pax Christi has sent us the following statement today, in the wake of the attacks on Libya  by coalition forces over the last few hours.

With deep concern we watch the escalation of the use of military force against the regime of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.  While this is supported by the authority of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 our fears are that the human and longer-term political costs of this action may be deep and difficult to resolve.

Under the terms of the resolution which - which stresses the humanitarian nature of the intervention -  a huge  responsibility is placed on the members of the coalition "to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory" .  Everything must be done to ensure transparency and compliance with this demand.  In a week which marks the eighth anniversary of the war with Iraq (a non-UN sanctioned intervention) we cannot contemplate another protracted  conflict in an already fragile region.

All of the non-military aspects of resolution 1973 must be pursued: the continued arms embargo, the prevention of the flow of mercenaries into the region, the freezing of assets, as a means of de-militarising the region in a nonviolent way.

Pax Christi, an international Catholic movement for peace, holds firmly to the Gospel imperative that evil cannot be overcome with evil. The use of violence and counter violence as a means of   resolving disputes and conflicts remind us  that we still have much to learn about building global solidarity based on justice, cooperation and the support for democracy.  We  keep in mind the words of  Paul VI, before the United Nations in 1965: War No More, War Never Again! And Pope John Paul II in 2003, "this war  (with Iraq) would be a defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified."