1998 NCC News Archives

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NCC Statement on Resolution of Tensions with Iraq
By The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary, February 23, 1998

Following are excerpts from two related NCC news releases.  Follow the links for the full stories.

CWS to Provide Food, Medicine, Blankets to Suffering Iraqis

NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 1998 ---- As increasing alarm about a possible United States military strike combines with heightened concern about frayed social and economic conditions in Iraq, Church World Service (CWS) will provide blankets and layettes and will seek funds for desperately needed medicine in support of a $2 million global appeal to aid the internally displaced and other vulnerable people in Iraq.

NCC Leadership Urges Humanitarian, Not Military, Option in Iraq

NEW YORK, February 16, 1998 -- The National Council of Churches' Executive Board -- its policy setting body -- today unanimously approved and then forwarded the following letter to President Clinton, counseling: "Seek a humanitarian and diplomatic, not a military, solution to the present confrontation with Iraq's leadership."

Agreements brokered in Iraq are good news. The positive
response of President Clinton is good news indeed. We give
thanks to God!

With so many in our country and throughout the world,
including President Clinton himself, we have hoped and prayed
that diplomacy would nullify the possibility of conflict. It
now appears that diplomacy has prevailed. Mindful of those who
have been spared further jeopardy and suffering on all sides,
we again give thanks to God.

On behalf of our churches we warmly commend UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan for his good service to the community of
nations. His readiness to undertake a mission with high stakes
and his steady, confident style have been critical ingredients
in achieving a peaceful resolution. Well done! The United
Nations stands tall.

Further we commend President Clinton for his support of the
Secretary General's mission as well as his own restraint in
this time of high tension. Quick responses or unseasoned
judgments could have been calamitous. We continue to
appreciate the consistent openness to a negotiated settlement
displayed by Secretary Albright, Director Berger and others in
our nation's leadership. Again, well done.

We are heartened by the insistence of so many Americans that
we find a way of resolving this conflict peacefully. It offers
a promising future for America's role in the family of
nations. The "macho" among us was replaced by a maturity in us
that the future will continue to need. Well done!

Finally, as we have previously expressed to President Clinton
we believe that new ties between the Iraqi people, Americans
and other peoples of the world must now be built. We continue
to offer the capacity of our churches to deliver humanitarian
aid to alleviate Iraq's suffering. We join with others in
urging a softening of the embargo against Iraq to permit such
aid. We believe that the reduction of tensions now provides
the opportunity to build the framework for peace.

We long for the day when weapons can be laid aside and the
horrible instruments of wanton mass destruction become
pointless and repugnant even to those who harbor them. We
continue to lift up the Biblical vision of "swords turned into
plowshares and spears into pruning hooks" and a family of
nations that knows war no more.

As we pray in gratitude for the ending of the immediate
confrontation with Iraq, so let us pray for a new and
universal human commitment to pursue a just and lasting peace.

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