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Iraq action 'legal and justified'

Iraq action 'legal and justified'

Military action in Iraq was legal and justified, Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell has said.

He was responding to the Foreign Affairs Committee report on some of the most challenging issues facing British foreign policy - instability in the Middle East, terrorism and weapons proliferation.

Mr Rammell said he agreed with the Committee on many of its conclusions, such as the importance of international commitment to the road map to peace in the Middle East and the need to put Iraq on a clear path to representative government and economic prosperity.

He also agreed with the Committee's view that despite considerable success in disrupting the Al Qaeda network, the Government cannot be complacent. "We are committing increasing resources to tackling this global threat," said Mr Rammell.

Noting the Committee's positive view of diplomatic activity in post-conflict Iraq, Mr Rammell said that steps like the Security Council Resolution giving the UN a central role represent a strong framework for reconstructing the country.

But the Minister also said the Government does not agree with the Committee's analysis of the events that led to military action against Iraq.

"By unanimously supporting UNSCR1441 the Security Council agreed on the threat posed by Iraq and its WMD programmes. We do not accept that UNMOVIC and IAEA had not presented any compelling evidence of WMD. But the issue was Iraq's unwillingness to co-operate and account for its WMD. Some members of the Security Council disagreed with us, not on the threat, but on how to deal with the threat."

He said the Government stands by the legality of and justification for taking military action:

"We remain confident that the evidence of WMD and the grisly testimony of the mass graves will in time demonstrate that we made the right choice."

The Government will study the report carefully and give a full response in the future.

© Scoop Media

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