Portuguese Leader Speaks Out Against "Preventive" War

January 8, 2003 - 0:0
LISBON -- Portugal's socialist President Jorge Sampaio on Tuesday expressed strong opposition to the doctrine of "preventive military responses," although he did not explicitly mention the United States, which has expressed support for the idea, AFP reported.

Sampaio also said that only the UN Security Council could decide on the further course of action on Iraq. Speaking to a New Year's reception for Portugal's diplomatic corps, Sampaio warned that preventive wars "harbor serious risks and run against the tradition of international law which sees the use of force as an act of last resort." The president noted that certain countries, which he did not name, believed that signs that a country was about to launch an attack or merely possessed the means to do so, "are a sufficient motive to allow or force preventive military measures, even unilateral ones."

"The use of force must be legitimized to prevent opening the door to all kinds of abuse and discretionary judgements," he went on to say. Sampaio said once the work of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq is completed "it will be up to the UN Security Council, and it alone, to decide what happens next."

He also called on Baghdad to "scrupulously, without dilatory action" stick to UN Security Council Resolution 1441 on disarmament.