The Vatican believes that if the U.N. inspectors are given the support of the international community, this could lead to an "agreed and honorable resolution to the problem."
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's new permanent observer at the United Nations, presented the Holy See's position on Wednesday when he addressed the Security Council.
The archbishop began by recognizing the gravity of the Iraq situation.
"The international community is rightly worried," he said, "[and] is addressing a just and urgent cause: the disarmament of arsenals of mass destruction, a threat surfacing not just in a single region but, unfortunately, in other parts of the world."
"The Holy See is convinced that, in the efforts to draw strength from the wealth of peaceful tools provided by international law, to resort to force would not be a just one," Archbishop Migliore stressed.
"To the grave consequences for a civilian population that has already been tested long enough, are added the dark prospects of tensions and conflicts between peoples and cultures, and the deprecated reintroduction of war as a way to resolve untenable situations," he added.
The archbishop explained that these reasons led John Paul II to send Cardinal Roger Etchegaray to Baghdad to meet with President Saddam Hussein, and to hand him a papal message calling for faithful compliance with U.N. resolutions on disarmament.
The Vatican also requested that the international community decidedly support the work of the U.N. inspectors, so that their pressure on the Iraqi government would be effective.
"The Holy See is, therefore, of the view that it is also the proper path that would lead to an agreed and honorable resolution of the problem, which, in turn, could provide the basis for a real and lasting peace," the Vatican representative stressed.
In sum, the "Holy See encourages the parties concerned to keep the dialogue open that could bring about solutions in preventing a possible war, and urges the international community to assume its responsibility in dealing with any failings by Iraq," Archbishop Migliore concluded.