Legality might block EU Iraq support, says commissioner

12 March 2003
EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten told the European Assembly in Strasbourg on 12 March that launching military action without proper UN backing would complicate EU efforts to co-operate in post-crisis reconstruction in Iraq.

He also warned Washington that democracy could not be imposed at the barrel of a gun and that war could increase terrorism, particularly if the US failed to work harder for a settlement of the Palestinian conflict.

'It will be that much more difficult for the EU to co-operate fully and on a large scale -- also in the longer-term reconstruction process -- if events unfold without proper UN cover and if the [EU] member states remain divided,' Patten said. Patten is a Conservative former cabinet minister and last governor of Hong Kong before it returned to China.

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