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Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 10:44:32 -0600 (CST)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <davemull@alphalink.com.au>
Subject: [SPAM] [southnews] US under fire from Asia Pacific lawmakers
Article: 149937
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.2014571.20030114091545@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

North Korea - and US - under fire from Asia Pacific lawmakers

AFP, Monday 13 January 2003, 4:52 PM

Both North Korea and the United States came under fire for endangering world peace at a conference of legislators from 24 Asia-Pacific countries.

The US, Japan and South Korea presented draft resolutions to the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) calling on North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons programme.

But the 170 delegates were told also in an opening address by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that a US-led attack on Iraq would inflame Muslim anger and increase the number of recruits to international terrorism.

Mahathir, whose country takes over the chairmanship of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference this year, said the difference in approach by the United States towards Iraq and North Korea would also infuriate Muslims.

There was a time when Muslim countries were in agreement over the need to stop Iraqi aggressiveness. Today that unity of purpose has disappeared. Muslims see the stance taken against Iraq as another act of discrimination against Muslims, he said.

Iraq, Iran and North Korea have been labeled as the Axis of Evil. But despite the fact that North Korea has admitted that it has nuclear capability, it is not being threatened with war as Iraq is.

We do not want to see North Korea being threatened with war and the country being militarily attacked, but the accommodating attitude towards North Korea is going to anger the Muslims more, he said.

Mahathir, Southeast Asia's longest-serving elected leader who has been in power for 21 years, acknowledged that anger over perceived injustices against Muslims had led some of them to terrorism.

But, he said, the world was failing in the war on terrorism because it was not addressing a major root cause -- the plight of the Palestinians.

I would like to insist that the principle reason (for terrorism) is territorial and not religious. The Palestinians have had their land taken away from them and they have been expelled from their land and made refugees.

Their struggle has been ignored by the world. Even the killings of their people, children and non-combatants included, raised hardly an eyebrow. Unable to wage conventional war they have resorted to acts of terror, he said.

The terror attacks on the United States in September 2001 were an attack on the whole world, he said. By the same token, the dispossession of Palestinian land is not an exclusive problem of the Palestinians.

The terrorism that assails the world today has a direct connection with the fate of the Palestinians.

Asked whether he agreed with Mahathir's analysis, the leader of the US delegation, Republican congressman Amory Houghton told AFP: I think we should identify the causes of terrorism. No one wants war in Iraq, United States least of all.

The APPF was formally established in Tokyo in January 1993 under the leadership of former prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, with the aim of contributing to the region's peace, stability and prosperity by providing a forum for dialogue among parliamentarians.

Member countries are Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, China, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.