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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
12 February 1998


Paris, February 12 {No. 98-29} - The “parties concerned in the latest Iraqi crisis must overcome obstacles and continue along the path of diplomacy and dialogue,” UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor declared today in an appeal calling for the resumption of dialogue, and expressing his total support for the recent call from Pope John Paul II “to avert every form of the use of arms.”

Here is the text of Mr Mayor’s declaration:

“The current situation could lead to further confrontations with violence on a massive scale. To avoid more suffering, it is urgent to recognise that war is never a solution, that all sides are losers. The parties concerned in the latest Iraqi crisis must overcome obstacles and continue along the path of diplomacy and dialogue.

“UNESCO’s mission, according to its Constitution, is to construct the defenses of peace in the minds of men. It must therefore take action when the spectre of war and violence reappear. Everything must be done to avoid new confrontations and the horrors that follow in their wake. In the message he issued last Sunday Pope John Paul II declared himself ‘convinced that the parties involved still have the possibility of coming to an agreement and of reaffirming the principles which peacefully regulate international coexistence.’ He expressed his support for ‘everyone who is committed to continuing negotiations aimed at avoiding acts of war and at favoring a path of peace.’ We can only support such an approach.

“In Iraq, and throughout the region, armed conflict will not solve problems. We must, under the aegis of the United Nations, take stock of the situation and then act resolutely, but without resorting to the use of force. In a recent appeal in support of the Middle East peace process, I urged all parties to honour their promises, to respect signed agreements, and to avoid an outbreak of violence. I call once again today upon all concerned parties to make the only possible choice: to resume the dialogue, to search tirelessly for a diplomatic solution. If justice can take root on an international scale it would be a great achievement at the end of a century which so often has proven the failure of war and violence. Let us change our behaviour, in honour of young people who have paid such a heavy price from war. This would be the best way to prepare the transition of a culture of violence and war to a culture of conciliation and peace.”


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