Vatican Official Says Evidence Against Iraq Is "Not Very Convincing"

U.N. Resolutions Can Resolve the Crisis, Archbishop Martino Affirms

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2003 ( Vatican representative Archbishop Renato Martino stated that the evidence against Iraq presented by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5, does not alter the validity of the United Nations’ resolutions.

«I think the [evidence] is not [as] convincing as was that presented by Adlai Stevenson [then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] on Oct. 25, 1962, when the Cuban missile crisis took place,» the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Archbishop Renato Martino, said in statements on Vatican Radio’s ‘One-O-Five Live’ program.

«In fact, the resolution gives the inspectors the power to destroy or render inoffensive the weapons they find. However, the same resolution asks member states to support the inspectors,» he clarified.

«What is more, it asks that they offer [to the inspectors] all the information they have in their possession on weapons of mass destruction. However, the resolution was approved on Nov. 8, 2002, and the evidence is [being] provided only now,» the archbishop added.

«Therefore, it must be handed over to the inspectors, so that they can do their work. Only when there is evidence that Iraq is not complying with the resolution, then the U.N. must comply with another part of the resolution, namely, evaluate the serious consequences to which resolution 1441 itself alluded,» Archbishop Martino explained.

Commenting on the visit that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarek Aziz will make to the Pope on Feb. 14, the archbishop said: «This is a request that comes from the government of Iraq. Let the Pope and Mr. Aziz meet. It might be a step towards a relaxation, but it is difficult to make predictions. It is evident that the Pope will do everything possible to intervene with the government of Iraq to avoid the war,» the archbishop stressed.

«The Pope does not have the divisions that Stalin spoke about. The Pope’s action is to remind the whole world, those who govern, that everything is lost with war and everything is won with peace. In the same way, war is an adventure with no return, as he said in 1991,» the archbishop concluded.

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