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Iran & North Korea Will Be Next Targets - Mahathir

Iran and North Korea will be the next target of US after Iraq: Mahathir

Kuala Lumpur (Tribune Correspondent, Sunday the 24 Feb ): Western powers are using terrorism as a pretext to conquer the world and will target Iran and North Korea once they succeed in Iraq, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday. Leaders of the developed countries have become "like a people of the Stone Age where for them, the solution to a problem is by killing people," he told more than 100,000 Malaysians at a mass peace rally here. "Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, they found the excuse to once again conquer the world," said Mahathir, who takes over the leadership of the 114-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at a summit opening here on Monday.

"I am confident that if they succeed in Iraq, they will shift their focus to Iran and after Iran, to North Korea. After North Korea, who will be their next victim? It is clear that the Western powers want to once again conquer the world," he said. An impassioned Mahathir slammed rich nations for their "double standards," saying they criticised developing countries on human rights issues but ignored the growing worldwide protest against a war in Iraq. "Do as I tell you but don't do as I do. This is a blatant example of double standards by the west," he said.

Mahathir, who has previously warned that an attack on Iraq would fan the flames of global terrorism, said earlier Sunday a new war in the Gulf would "simply anger more Muslims who are likely to view it as a strike against their religion rather than against terrorism". He has often said the Isreali-Palestinian situation is one of the root causes of Muslim terrorism, and at the peace rally he described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "terrorist". Israel was now "tearing down Palestinian homes using tanks and bulldozers," he said. "This is Ariel Sharon, this is Israel -- the main terrorist in the world that must be destroyed. Israel must be stopped from committing terror."

Mahathir, who spoke for more than an hour, was presented with an anti-war petition signed by 1.5 million Malaysians. The NAM is to reject a United States-led attack on Iraq and urge a resolution of the crisis through the United Nations in a statement to be released at end of the NAM summit.

The movement, which represents two-thirds of the UN, will also call on Iraq to cooperate "actively" with weapons inspectors searching for banned weapons of mass destruction, according to a resolution agreed by the organisation's foreign ministers. The resolution says NAM believes war on Iraq "will be a destabilising factor for the whole region, and that it would have far-reaching political, economic and humanitarian consequences for all countries of the world". It will add: "We reaffirm our commitment to exert our efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the current situation. "We welcome and support all other efforts exerted to avert war against Iraq and call for the persistent continuation of such efforts based on multilateral as opposed to unilateral actions, and reaffirm the central role of the United Nations and the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security." The declaration is a watered-down version of the document put forward by the NAM's Arab bloc. Paragraphs saying NAM members "categorically reject the threats of unilateral use of force" and express "support and solidarity with Iraq vis-a-vis the possible aggression against it" have been dropped.

Delegates meeting ahead of the two-day leaders' summit have also rejected attempts by North Korea to blame the United States for the stand-off over Pyongyang's reactivated nuclear programme.

A draft statement makes no reference to Pyongyang's position, saying only that the organisation is "concerned" over developments and wants "to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully".

The NAM, a forum for the world's poorest nations, also rebuffed an Arab proposal to adopt a statement condemning "the war crimes and systematic human rights violations that have been committed by Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people". However, leaders will call for Israelis accused of "reported war crimes" against Palestinians to be brought to trial.

ENDS

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