Anglican Bishops Oppose Unilateral Attack on Iraq

Evidence of Threat to World Peace Is Lacking, They Say

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LONDON, OCT. 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Church of England's House of Bishops has urged the British government and the international community to continue to pursue all peaceful means toward resolving the crisis with Iraq.



In a submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the House of Bishops said Wednesday there is a lack of conclusive evidence of an imminent and specific threat from Iraq to world peace and security.

In such circumstances, it contends, military action cannot be justified.

About 50 diocesan and suffragan bishops agreed the submission unanimously. George Carey, the outgoing Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, was not present but agreed to its terms.

Carey and his successor, Rowan Williams, have said that war would only be acceptable if sanctioned by the United Nation.

"We affirm the Government's stated policy of disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Unfettered and unhindered access must be gained for the UN weapons inspectors, in order to facilitate the identification and destruction of Iraq's WMD in compliance with all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSC)," the bishops said.

"We hold that the primary international concern remains Iraq's blatant disregard of the UN and its authority as expressed in relevant UNSC resolutions. Any unilateral action to enforce Iraq's compliance with such resolutions risks further undermining the credibility and authority of the UN," they added.

The text of the House of Bishops' submission is available at www.cofe.anglican.org/papers/index.html.