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Malaysia Urges Non-Aligned Vote Against Iraq War - 2003-03-10


Malaysia is urging the six members of the U.N. Security Council who belong to the Non-Aligned Movement to vote against any war on Iraq.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar says that since Malaysia now chairs the Non-Aligned Movement it has sent a letter to Syria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Pakistan and Angola. Malaysia asks the six nations to follow the Non-Aligned Movement's position on Iraq when it comes to voting in the United Nations Security Council.

The Security Council is expected to vote on a U.S.-sponsored resolution on Wednesday that would declare Iraq in non-compliance with U.N. demands to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.

At their summit last month in Kuala Lumpur, the members of the Non-Aligned Movement voted to reject any war with Iraq not approved by the United Nations.

At the end of the summit, the NAM members issued a statement saying war with Iraq would be destabilizing for the region, and would have far-reaching political, economic and humanitarian consequences for the whole world.

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid says he hopes the six Non-Aligned Movement states that sit on the Security Council will not be pressured into voting in favor of war. He hopes they will vote to allow more time for U.N. weapons inspectors to search for banned biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq.

The United States and Britain have said they hope to get nine or 10 of the 15 Security Council members to approve the resolution on Iraq, which sets March 17 as a deadline for Baghdad to disarm. U.S. and British diplomats have said if Iraq does not comply the result could be war.

However, three permanent members of the Security Council - France, Russia and China - say they favor giving U.N. weapons inspectors more time to hunt down Iraq's weapons. Those nations all have power to veto any Security Council vote.