I believe that the Prime Minister is right to maintain that action must be
taken to deal with the growing threat posed by the proliferation of Weapons
of Mass Destruction manufactured in Iraq and elsewhere. But with regard to
Iraq, questions in particular remain concerning the ‘accurate, full, and
complete’ declaration of weapons capabilities provided by Iraq to the UN on
7 December [as required under op. Para. 3 of Resolution 1441]. The Head of
the UN Inspectors, Hans Blix, has already stated that this documentation
contains ‘gaps’. The relevant part of the UN Resolution states:
‘False statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq
pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with,
and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall
constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations.’
However, no final decision has yet been taken and my support for Tony Blair
on this issue is not unconditional.
It is highly desirable that we obtain a second UN Resolution before military
action is authorised, should Iraq not comply with her UN obligations.
However, unlike the Liberal Democrats and certain Labour Cabinet members, I
believe it would be unwise for Britain to rule out military action if a
second UN Resolution is not obtained. This could arise, for example, if
just one member of the UN Security Council were to apply a veto.
There is a precedent for this. When Britain acted to free the people of
Kosovo, Russia would never have agreed to support UN action. In that case
Britain joined a coalition to free the nation’s people from terror. It would
be worrying if Britain could not take such action again.
Nor do I agree that a second resolution is necessary under international
law. This is not the case. The existing UN Resolution 1441 states that
the UN has repeatedly warned Iraq it would ‘face serious consequences as a
result of its continued violations of its obligations’ [Para. 13], and that
Resolution 1441 is ‘a final opportunity’ for Iraq ‘to comply with its
disarmament obligations’ [Para. 12].
I can only hope that with the massive build up of troops on Iraq’s border,
Saddam Hussein and his cruel Government will see sense and may decide to
leave the country so liberating their people and making war unnecessary.