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Straw: Iraq decision was right

Straw: Iraq decision was right

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that the security situation in Iraq presents formidable challenges, but maintains that the decision to take action was the right one. "The authority of the United Nations was at stake," he said.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Foreign Secretary said that what made Iraq so important was the way it tested the role and purpose of the UN over more than 12 years. He said that the international community remained in agreement that the Iraqi regime posed a serious threat throughout that period.

"Of course I acknowledge the controversy over the military action that the UK, the US and others took, and the heavy responsibilities we now bear," he said. "But I firmly believe that the decision we took was the right one. The authority of the United Nations was at stake.

"Having given Saddam Hussein's regime a 'final opportunity' to comply with the UN, what would have happened if we had simply turned away? Would the world be a safer place today? Would Iraq be a better place today? Would the United Nations be a stronger institution today?

"The answer to each of these questions is No. Saddam Hussein would have been emboldened by our failure to act, every dictator would have been encouraged to follow his example, and the authority of the United Nations would gravely have been weakened."

Concluding his speech the Foreign Secretary said:

"The British government is profoundly committed to the ideals of the UN. To us, the importance of this organisation has always been its ability to put those high ideals into effect."

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