Ex-British diplomat: Iraq war was illegitimate

The former UK ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock says that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was “of questionable legitimacy”.

Greenstock was speaking on day four of public hearings at a wide-ranging inquiry into the US-led, British-backed Iraq War covering the period from 2001 to 2009.

Jeremy Greenstock said the United States seemed to be “preparing for conflict” despite British efforts to secure consensus following a United Nations resolution in November 2002 giving Saddam Hussein a last warning to disarm, AFP reported.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 in late 2002 gave Iraq a “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” but the council did not ultimately agree to a second resolution clearly authorizing the March 2003 invasion.

This meant the invasion was “legal but of questionable legitimacy, in that it didn’t have the democratically observable backing of the great majority of member states,” Greenstock said in spoken evidence to the Chilcot inquiry.

The first UN resolution, 1441, was “equivocal” on what should happen if Iraq did not comply with international demands and, although Britain tried to resolve some of its ambiguities, this was hindered by the US, Greenstock said.

“The UK’s attempt to reconstitute a consensus had only a slim prospect of success, made slimmer by the recognition by everyone else following events closely that the US was not proactively supportive of the UK’s efforts and seemed to be preparing for conflict whatever the UK decided to do,” Greenstock said in a written statement also submitted to the inquiry on Friday.

His written statement also revealed that Greenstock, Britain’s ambassador to the UN between 1998 and 2003, considered resigning if there was no resolution clearly backing military action.

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