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

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

In a letter, sent to the PM yesterday, the President saysthat military force should only be used against Iraq as a lastresort and must be authorised by a new resolution of theUN.

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

Dear Mr Blair

The Methodist Church welcomes your commitment, made at TUCconference yesterday, to deal with the threat from Saddam Hussein'sregime through the UN. Every effort must be made to winunconditional compliance with UN Resolution 687 and the other UNobligations, which have been flouted by Iraq.

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

Military force should be used only as a last resort. Ifpolitical, diplomatic and moral pressure do not succeed inre-introducing UN weapon inspectors into Iraq and dismantling allweapons of mass destruction, military action against Iraq must beauthorised by a new resolution of the UN.

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

Yours sincerely,
The Rev Ian T White
President Methodist Conference