[Church of Ireland Press Office] In a joint statement the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Robin Eames, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, today urged the United Nations Security Council to uphold the principles of the UN Charter in working to resolve the Iraq crisis.
The Archbishops said, "While we acknowledge the iniquities of the regime in Iraq and the complexities of the current situation, we hold the view that war in Iraq will deepen a humanitarian crisis of grave magnitude, with untold human suffering and loss of life, especially for the children of Iraq; it will lead to loss of infrastructure, together with serious damage to the environment; it will reinforce and polarise division and hatred between communities resulting in further destabilisation of the region and of the international community.
"We urge the United Nations Security Council to uphold the principles of the UN Charter that strictly limit the legitimate use of military force, and to refrain from lowering the thresholds for using violent means to solve international conflicts; and urge the British and Irish Governments to express clearly their support for the upholding of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.
"We appeal to the political leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom to refrain from military action against Iraq without the clear mandate of the United Nations Security Council.
"We call on people everywhere to engage in prayer that the leaders of the nations may be guided towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Iraq."