12 September 2002

UN must authorise any military action over Iraq, urges Methodist President

The President of the Methodist Conference, the Rev Ian White, has urged Prime Minister Tony Blair to work with the UN to resolve the growing political crisis over Iraq.

In a letter, sent to the PM yesterday, the President says that military force should only be used against Iraq as a last resort and must be authorised by a new resolution of the UN.

The full letter, also sent to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Foreign Secretary, follows:

Dear Mr Blair

The Methodist Church welcomes your commitment, made at TUC conference yesterday, to deal with the threat from Saddam Hussein's regime through the UN. Every effort must be made to win unconditional compliance with UN Resolution 687 and the other UN obligations, which have been flouted by Iraq.

Through the UN, Britain should endeavour to construct a broad-based international coalition to support full adherence to Resolution 687 within a realistic, specified period.

Military force should be used only as a last resort. If political, diplomatic and moral pressure do not succeed in re-introducing UN weapon inspectors into Iraq and dismantling all weapons of mass destruction, military action against Iraq must be authorised by a new resolution of the UN.

In the Christian view, war in itself is not to be justified on moral grounds. The aim of careful reflection on the conditions in which military force may be endorsed by the UN is to contain the scope and consequences of any military action.

Yours sincerely,
The Rev Ian T White
President Methodist Conference

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