Selected Arab, international reactions regarding the U.S. raid
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday condemned U.S. military action against Iraq and called for a rapid end to U.S. operations.
Putin told senior ministers in the Kremlin: "Military action can in no way be justified. Military action is a big political error."
If the world submitted to the right of might then no country would be safe, he said. "It is for these reasons that Russia insists on an end as quickly as possible to military action."
On his part, French President Jacques Chirac urged U.S.-led forces attacking Iraq to avoid a "humanitarian catastrophe" and insisted Thursday that only the United Nations, not individual countries, should make the determination to go to war.
"France regrets this action taken without approval of the United Nations," Chirac said in a brief televised speech. "We hope these operations will be as rapid and least deadly as possible, and that they don't lead to a humanitarian catastrophe."
The Vatican expressed "deep pain" Thursday over the start of war against Iraq, faulting both sides for failing to find a peaceful solution.
Pope John Paul II dedicated a dawn Mass in his private chapel to peace.
In a later statement, the Vatican said it "lamented" the Iraqi's government failure to accept the U.N. demands that the country disarm, noting the pope had appealed for such.
On the other hand, the Vatican said it "deplored" that negotiations for a peaceful solution were interrupted.
The Arab League said the launch of US attacks marked a "sad day for all Arabs" and warned that other countries in the region would be next in the firing line.
"After Iraq, one day, it will be other Arab countries' turn," assistant secretary general Said Kamal told AFP.
"The question is, for every Arab citizen: Who gave the authorisation to interfere in Iraqi affairs? Who gave this authorisation?" he asked Thursday. The secretary general, Amr Mussa, meanwhile, said it was a "sad day" for the Arab world.
"It's a sad day for all the Arabs, that Iraq and its people should be subjected to a military strike which will leave nothing standing and take no account of civilians nor of the whole of Iraq," he told reporters.
"I feel saddened and angry in the face of this aggression," he said.
Mussa called for the UN Security Council to take "the necessary measures to stop this destructive war ... despite having been marginalised when the decision was taken for war against Iraq".
Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said Thursday he opposed the United States' "unilateral" strike on Iraq, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The announcement comes hours before Turkey's parliament was expected to vote on a resolution that would open up Turkey's airspace to U.S. warplanes.
Sezer said he did not think "the United States' unilateral action is right," Anatolia said.
The agency quoted Sezer as saying that he maintained his position that any strike on Iraq should be carried out with "international legitimacy." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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