H.E. AMBASSADOR RASTAM MOHD ISA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON THE SITUATION BETWEEN IRAQ AND KUWAIT
WEDNESDAY, 26 MARCH 2003
Since this is the first time I am speaking in this Council as Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), let me congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council for the month and assure you of our full cooperation. I also wish to pay tribute to your predecessor, the distinguished Permanent Representative of Germany for his excellent stewardship of the Council last month.
2. On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), allow me to thank you, Mr. President, and members of the Council, for again agreeing to convene this open meeting of the Council on the current situation in Iraq. As members of the Council would recall, serious efforts were made earlier this month to avert war in Iraq and we clearly expressed the views of NAM at the open meeting of the Council on 11 March 2003. Unfortunately those efforts failed.
Military action against Iraq has been going on for one week. The relentless assaults from sea, land and air are continuing
as we sit here in this Council chamber. While
this has taken place, the Council has remained silent until today. While the
Council remained silent, stark images of this twenty-first century war are seen
all around the world continuously. We have just today seen the image of a market
being struck by a missile. Millions who see these images daily must be wondering
as to where the United Nations, in particular the Security Council stand on this
issue. The prompt decision of the Council to hold this meeting today is a
welcome development. It should offer some hope to those of us in the international
community who remain committed to multilateralism and the central role of the
Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Non-Aligned Movement strongly maintains that commitment.
The Non-Aligned Movement strongly believes that all member states of the
United Nations should observe and abide by the United
Nations Charter and the principles of international law in dealing with problems
among nations. In this regard, NAM has continously stressed the vital role of
the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and
the strengthening of international co-operation. We oppose all unilateral
military actions or use of force including those made without proper
authorisation from the United Nations Security Council.
We deplore any unilateral action against the sovereignty, territorial
integrity and independence of Member States.
5. The war against Iraq
has been carried out without the authorization of the Security Council.
This war is carried out in violation of the principles of international
law and the United Nations Charter.
In this regard, it is highly
regrettable that the parties concerned had chosen early in the day to cast aside
multilateral diplomacy and taken the path of war while efforts to avert conflict
were continuing in earnest.
We view unilateral military
action as an illegitimate act of aggression.
war should not have been started in the first place.
Therefore, it should end immediately.
Let us return to the Security Council to find the solution to this
The Non-Aligned Movement wishes to reiterate
its commitment to the fundamental principles of the non-use of force,
non-interference in the internal affairs of states and respect for the
sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and security of all
Member States of the United Nations. We continue to believe that the
problem of Iraq should and could be resolved peacefully through the United
Nations. We reaffirm our commitment
towards achieving a peaceful solution to the current situation and stress the
vital role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and
security. We call on the Security Council to use its power and authority as
mandated by the United Nations Charter to revert to the multilateral process in
the common effort to resolve this issue.
The Non-Aligned Movement had stated last month at its XIII Summit in
Kuala Lumpur its belief that a war against Iraq would destabilise the whole
region and it could have far reaching political, economic and humanitarian
consequences not only for Iraq but also for the rest of the world.
This was reiterated in the Council two weeks ago.
We continue to maintain this position today.
With the military activity now escalating in Iraq, we are extremely
concerned over the humanitarian situation of the civilian population in that
country. There are reports, for
instance, that the people in Basra could be facing a serious humanitarian
disaster including shortage of basic needs such as electricity and water if
relief supplies do not reach them in time.
We hope that the sufferings of the civilian population could be relieved
as soon as possible. While the responsibility for this lies with those countries
that had initiated military action against Iraq, the international community
must also assist the United Nations in carrying out the important task of
providing humanitarian relief.
It is important that all parties to the conflict observe human
rights and other humanitarian issues such as treatment and protection of
civilians. They must respect
international humanitarian law including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
We strongly believe that all avenues in the peaceful disarmament of Iraq
should have been explored. We regret that despite confirmation by the UNMOVIC
and the IAEA that Iraq was actively cooperating and that the inspections were
producing results, the inspectors were not given adequate time to fulfill their
mandate and had to be withdrawn because of the war.
We also regret that the inspectors were not allowed to continue with
their work despite the overwhelming calls by the international community
including the majority members of the Security Council.
11. We had welcomed the decision by
Iraq to facilitate the unconditional return of, and cooperation with, the United
Nations inspectors in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1441. However, it was unfortunate that the war has now made it
impossible for the inspectors to work. We
note that the Secretary-General had emphasised on 24 March 2003 the importance
of the resumption of inspections by the UN inspectors.
The Non-Aligned Movement believes that international peace and stability
could be preserved with all states adhering to the fundamental principles of the
non-use of force and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity,
political independence and security of all member states of the UN.
We appeal to all concerned to
exert all efforts to urgently return to peaceful solution in enforcing Iraqi
compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions. We will continue to work
closely with UN Member States on the appropriate course of action, including
upholding the centrality and sanctity of the principles and purposes of the UN
Charter, in addressing issues relating to international peace and security now
and in the future.
The Security Council as the custodian of international peace and security
has a special and greater responsibility to ensure that the international world
order is based on the principles of justice and international law and not on
I wish to speak on behalf of Malaysia.
Malaysia takes the position that unilateral military action undertaken
without the support and authorization of the Security Council violates
international law and the UN Charter. Further,
the doctrine of preemptive strike has no foundation in international law.
Malaysia views the unilateral military action undertaken by the United
States and its allies as illegal and is tantamount to an invasion of an
independent and sovereign nation; what more unilateral action taken on a
selective basis and based on tenuous evidence when a viable mechanism exists to
ensure Iraqi compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions.
Thus Malaysia is compelled to condemn this action.
Malaysia wishes to underline that the preemptive use of force threatens
the very foundation of international law, making war once again the tool of
international politics, of the powerful in subjugating the weak or the
defenseless and erroneously asserts the notion that might is right.
In view of the humanitarian catastrophe that is now unfolding in Iraq as
well as the grave threat to international and regional peace, security and
stability arising from the unilateral military action, Malaysia calls upon the
United States and its allies to immediately return to peaceful but firm methods
in bringing about Iraq’s compliance with relevant UN Security Council
Malaysia joins the international community in underlying the urgency in
addressing the humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of military action.
We share the view of those who take the position that the United States
and its allies that initiated the military action must bear the full cost of
providing humanitarian assistance.
you, Mr. President.