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Swiss say Iraq war is hard to justify

War seems unavoidable in Iraq swissinfo.ch

As the clock counts down to war in the Middle East, eight prominent Swiss have told swissinfo that there is little legitimacy for war in Iraq.

This content was published on March 18, 2003 - 19:03

They have also expressed doubts that the United Nations will ever be the same again in the wake of the diplomatic crisis.

The group of politicians, former ambassadors, journalists and academics made their comments after President Bush issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face war.

On Tuesday, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline-Calmy-Rey condemned Washington's decision to act unilaterally.

The attitudes of the eight Swiss are generally consistent with a series of opinion polls that have shown strong Swiss opposition to military action in Iraq.

Opposition to the conflict has come from across the political spectrum, as well as from religious leaders and even the armed forces.

The group was asked whether war was justified and whether the United Nations had lost its credibility.

Almost everyone said there were no obvious grounds for war, adding that the stand-off between Europe and the United States boiled down to cultural or philosophical differences.

The group also admitted that the UN, which Switzerland joined only last year, had been severely damaged by the crisis.

swissinfo, Scott Capper

Key facts

No second resolution will be voted on Iraq at the United Nations.
President Bush has given Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave the country.
Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has condemned the United States' unilateral stance.

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