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Undermining the UN would be a victory for Saddam

Undermining the UN would be a victory for Saddam says Hoon

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has said that the determination to act on the issue of Iraq 'should be about the immediate security of us all, the future of the UN and the plight of the Iraqi people themselves'.

Mr Hoon said in a speech in Kuwait that if the international community failed to act on the demands made in Resolution 1441, the community faces the consequences of Saddam being allowed to keep his hidden arsenal, and the authority of the UN would be undermined.

He said:

"The UN has been one of the cornerstones of world peace for half-a-century. It would be a victory for Saddam indeed if he were able to walk away from this situation maintaining his stockpile of weapons, with his grip on power in Iraq enhanced and having undermined the UN itself. That is unthinkable, not least in the message it would send to proliferators and other rogue states, and we should do all we can to ensure it never happens."

Following 9/11, there are no longer any doubts that terrorists would use WMD technology against innocent people if they could obtain it, said the Defence Secretary. He added:

"It is in the light of 9/11 that Saddam's hidden arsenal of chemical and biological weapons must be judged. Saddam has shown himself more than capable of using these weapons, but we know now that there are others who would be only too pleased to be given access to them."

He said that 'twelve long years' had passed since the international community, through the United Nations, demanded Saddam Hussein destroy his stockpile of chemical and biological weaponry. He added:

"In fact the UN gave the Iraqi dictator 15 days to comply all those years ago. We are still waiting."

ENDS

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