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Talk of War on Iraq is Damaging World Economy

Talk of War on Iraq is Damaging World Economy and Diverting Attention from War Against Terrorism

"Media speculation about a possible unilateral U.S.-led war in Iraq is damaging the world economy and diverting democratic nations' attention from the much more important issue of combating international terrorism," Progressive Coalition Leader, Jim Anderton, said today.

International oil prices, a key influence on the likely future rate of global economic growth, have skyrocketed to fresh two-year highs amid concerns about the chances of an early war in Iraq.

"The world economy needs a confidence boost. The last thing it needs is unnecessary hits to international business confidence which is precisely what higher oil prices can be assured of delivering," Jim Anderton said.

Shocks to international business confidence are always very bad news for an export-reliant economy like New Zealand's.

Jim Anderton said the Progressives would never support unilateral military action against Iraq.

Not only would any unilateral military invasion be highly damaging to this country's economic development interests, unilateral military action would risk the future of the global coalition in the war against Al Qaeda and other like-minded terrorist organizations.

That is because many of the key Islamic nations that currently support the international war against terrorism don't trust – and many strongly oppose – any unilateral U.S. and U.K. attack on Iraq.

"Yet it is absolutely vital that Islamic nations are fully involved in the global effort to tackle international terrorism and its root causes," Jim Anderton said.

The Progressives strongly back a diplomatic solution to the current arms inspection process being carried out in Iraq by United Nations officials.

This inspection could take a long time to complete but the process must be allowed to proceed and the rule of international law respected.

U.N. inspectors, for example, say the discovery of empty warheads in Iraq this week capable of carrying chemical warheads is ‘no smoking gun’. The Progressives believe that it is up to the United Nations Security Council, and not the U.S., to assess whether Iraq is fulfilling its obligations to the international inspection process.

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