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CTU Calls on Bush to Abandon War Crusade

CTU Calls on President Bush to Abandon Crusade for War

A Council of Trade Unions delegation today delivered a letter to US Ambassador Swindells calling on President Bush to abandon the crusade for war against Iraq, and to seek a diplomatic solution through the UN.

“The CTU represents more than 300,000 working New Zealanders concerned about the US build up for war against Iraq,” CTU president Ross Wilson said after a meeting at the US Embassy in Wellington.

“All New Zealanders condemned the terrorist attacks on New York and grieved for the victims,” he said

“It is therefore bitterly ironical that we now face a situation where, as part of the U. S. Government’s “war against terror”, it intends to ignore the United Nations, breach international law and, in the face of overwhelming opposition from world opinion, take military action against Iraq which will inevitably result in the loss of many more innocent lives.

“The CTU can see no evidence to justify a war against Iraq,” Ross Wilson said.

“But if there is a decision whether or not to invade Iraq, it should be made by the United Nations in circumstances that are free from undue economic or political pressure on member nations, and in accordance with the UN Charter.”

The CTU yesterday joined Greenpeace in a letter to the Prime Minister calling on the NZ Government to support the diplomatic initiative by Germany, France and Russia in the UN today.

The CTU is also encouraging union members and their families to join the peace marches this weekend.

Letter to President Bush attached.

For further information contact Ross Wilson, Tel: (04) 802-3812 (w), 025 468 767, (04) 934-8541 (h) or Lyndy McIntyre, Tel: (04) 802-3817 (w), 027 243 7031, (04) 905-5185 (h)

14 February 2003

President George Bush C/o Ambassador Charles J. Swindells Embassy of the United States of America 28 Fitzherbert Terrace Wellington

Dear President Bush,

Ira

qI write on behalf of the 34 unions which are affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, representing more than 300,000 working New Zealanders who are concerned and alarmed by the daily statements by you, and other US leaders, suggesting that the United States will take unilateral military action against Iraq outside any United Nations’ mandate and in apparent disregard of international law.

In Ambassador Swindell’s Christmas newsletter he noted that when the terrorist attacks in New York and Pennsylvania took place the New Zealand Government’s response was “quick, genuine, and very much appreciated.” All New Zealanders condemned the terrorism and grieved for the victims.

It is therefore bitterly ironical that we now face a situation where, as part of the U. S. Government’s “war against terror”, it intends to ignore our only world governance institution, breach international law and, in the face of overwhelming opposition from world opinion, take military action against Iraq which will inevitably result in the loss of many more innocent lives.

The Council of Trade Unions supports the strengthening and implementation of treaties and conventions for the elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons through United Nations processes. We also support mandated international inspection of all countries developing and producing weapons of mass destruction.

However, we do not believe that a war is justified. If there is a decision whether or not to invade Iraq, it should be made by the United Nations in circumstances that are free from undue economic or political pressure on member nations, and in accordance with the UN Charter.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is also an affiliate of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and we fully agree with the comments of Guy Ryder, ICFTU General Secretary who has called for the crisis to be handled through the United Nations and warned that the poor will suffer most from war - whether in Iraq or in a developing world least able to absorb the economic dislocation of a major conflict.

We therefore urge you to abandon this crusade for war and seek instead a diplomatic solution that can unite the world against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist actions.

Yours sincerely

Ross Wilson PRESIDENT

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