Iraq crisis: Vatican diplomat urges UN to 'choose life'

 Mgr Renato Martino, chairman of the 'Iustitia et Pax' pontifical council, expressed grave concern over the ten-day ultimatum offered to Iraq by President Bush. IN an interview with the Missionary News Service, he said on Saturday: "I read in the papers about the ten day deadline given to Saddam Hussein. But that resolution has not yet been voted on and is therefore nonexistent until approved. If, despite a lack of sufficient votes or a veto, a war is regardlessly launched, it would be such a hard blow for the UN that I am not sure it could survive." He said: "The destiny of the eventual new UN resolution is also in the hands of nations of the World's South: three African (Angola, Cameroon and Guinea), Mexico, Chile and Pakistan, currently on the Security Council." He said: "These same nations attended the meeting of the movement of Non-Aligned Nations in Kuala Lumpur at the end of February, when they all clearly expressed their positions in regard to the conflict. I would think their stand has not changed since." He said he could only see four nations voting in favour of the resolution. Mgr Martino, who spent 16 years as the Vatican's permanent observer on the Security Council, said: "The inspectors need, as requested by Blix, at least another four months to complete their work. Iraq is in fact, thanks to pressures by President Bush, responding to the needs of the inspectors, who in accordance with the 1441 resolution are called to find weapons of mass destruction and destroy them or render them inoffensive." Repeating the Pope's message of peace, he quoted Moses' words to the Israelites in Deuteronomy: "''You see today I pose before you life and goodness or death and evil. Therefore choose life, so you and your descendants may live.' "What beautiful words, that already in those times Moses proposed in name of God to the Jewish population. Let us hope that the choice is for life: this is the most impelling necessity of humanity." Source: MISNA

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