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Statement by the General Confederation of Trade Unions

The General Confederation of Trade Unions affiliating national trade union centres in CIS countries and 38 industrial Trade Union Internationals is deeply resentful at the news that the United States, Britain and their accomplices have begun military operations against Iraq.

This act of impertinent and blatant aggression against the people of an independent state, a member of the United Nations, has been committed without approval by the UN Security Council, in defiance of world public opinion, and despite the massive public protests all over the world. Therefore, it represents a gross violation of the basic rules of international law, and no buildup of war hysteria can prove the opposite. In fact, the United States has challenged the entire planet in its attempts to impose its will on the world community and substitute arbitrary rule for the decades-long mechanism of solving disputes and differences that arise between states. This must be put an end to.

Workers and their families are always the first to suffer from warfare. The current aggression against Iraq is no exception, as it may take hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, ruin the economy, destroy a huge number of jobs, and bring hunger and devastation to the country.

The war on Iraq is also dangerous because it has been unleashed in a region with huge oil deposits, which may result in a grave ecological catastrophe. It is the aggressor who must be hold responsible to the world public for the eventual destructive consequences of this war.

The GCTU expresses its solidarity with the victims of this aggression, the Iraqi people and workers, and with the General Federation of Trade Unions of Iraq, and calls on the GCTU member organisations, the international trade union movement, and all sensible forces on this planet to resolutely demand an immediate stop to the bloodshed in Iraq and do their best to return the decision of the issue to the legal framework of the United Nations Organisation.

Moscow, 20 March 2003