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Iraq: possible military action



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LAURIE BRERETON MP ; k04 6:041 Al •e' te SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS • NEWS RELEASE • NEWS RELEASE • NEWS RELEASE •

2/98 10 February 1998

IRAQ: POSSIBLE MILITARY ACTION

"The Howard Government's commitment of elements of the Australian Defence Force to assist possible action against Iraq should be accompanied by clarification of the precise objective of any military strike", the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, said today.

"No one should underestimate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the vital importance of full compliance by the Iraqi Government with all relevant Security Council resolutions. Clearly every responsible diplomatic effort should be made to secure such compliance."

"If ultimately there is no alternative to military action, then any such campaign should be clearly focussed on the substance of Iraq's material breach of its obligations. It should be limited in its objective to destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related research and production

facilities."

Mr Brereton noted calls from within the United States Congress for military action to eliminate Saddam Hussein and press reports of debate within the Clinton Administration on the precise objective and scope of possible military action.

"Having undertaken to do everything necessary to uphold the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, it is critical that the United States and its friends ensure that the objective of any military action is consistent with the parameters set by those resolutions and thus likely to attract maximum international support."

"However tempting it might be to broaden the aim of any attack to encompass the elimination of Saddam Hussein and his odious regime or the general destruction of Iraq's conventional military capabilities, the elimination of Iraq's weapons bf mass destruction capabilities would be the only appropriate objective."

"Careful consideration should also be given to the situation after the completion of any military offensive, in particular the role of the UN Special Commission in verifying the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and monitoring its military-industrial capabilities."

"The Howard Government should utilise the opportunity provided by Australia's military commitment to obtain urgent clarification of the Clinton Administration's intentions in respect of these issues."

Contact: Philip Dorling (02) 6277 4717 or 0416 203 058

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