Vatican Official Criticizes Pressures Exerted in U.N. Security Council

The Powerful Pressure the Small, Says Archbishop Martino

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2003 ( A Vatican official criticized the pressure that the most powerful nations are exerting in the U.N. Security Council to influence the votes of the less powerful.

«Each of the voters should be left free, with no interference,» said Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. «It is not right that the large exert more pressure on the small than their capacity to resist.»

The United States and others have been lobbying U.N. Security Council members to support military action against Iraq.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Martino said: «When promises or threats are made on the future of a people, no matter who makes them, the decision-making process is falsified and the principle of the equality of the dignity of nations is injured.»

According to the archbishop, countries should use «the force of reason and not the reasons of force» to explain their positions on the issue.

«The United Nations came into being to guarantee all against abuses and it is unacceptable that its very functioning is subjected to the logic of domination,» he said.

Archbishop Martino, who for 16 years was permanent observer of the Holy See before the United Nations, thinks that the postponement of the voting of the Security Council is a «positive event,» because «every action that defers military action is welcome.»

«With more time, there will be a better evaluation of the reality and the decisions will be more appropriate,» he concluded. «Moreover, with the passing of the days, the states might listen more to world public opinion, which I consider a decisive factor.»

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