‘Floating’ Council members urged to reject US bribes

The Green Party is calling on the Government to lobby UN Security Council members to reject any attempt by the US to secure a mandate for military action against Iraq.

Earlier today, Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke hand-delivered a letter to the ambassadors of Mexico and Chile, encouraging them to resist the extraordinary pressure being exerted on their countries to follow the White House line on Iraq.

“The United States can exert formidable economic pressure on nations to vote the way it wants them to,” Keith Locke said. “We’ve seen how the promise of increased trade has helped to buy the Australian Prime Minister’s support, while Turkey was promised almost $30 billion in loans and aid for ‘hosting’ US troops.

“Other nations are even more susceptible to blackmail than Australia or Turkey. We can encourage them to make a decision based on moral and legal arguments, rather than threats and blandishments.

“We would also like to see the New Zealand Government encouraging Security Council members to take a principled stand.

“The Green Party is very disappointed that Helen Clark failed to make the case for a peaceful resolution to the Iraq crisis more strongly than ‘agreeing to disagree’ with John Howard.

“If this Government is sincerely dedicated to averting war, then it should do more than just sit on the sidelines offering odds on when the bombing will start. It should give support to those countries that have already rejected the US/UK mandate for war and encourage ‘floating’ members to vote for peace.”