Pak Lah: US must keep its promises


  • Nation
  • Monday, 07 Apr 2003

By SIM LEOI LEOI AND FARIDAH BEGUM

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia wants to see the United States contributing significantly towards the reconstruction of Iraq after the war. 

Acting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that while US troops should leave post-war Iraq in line with claims that they were a “liberating force,” the United States must not “wash its hands” of the country. 

“All the destruction suffered by Iraq as a result of US bombings must be redressed. I hope the United States will take on a major responsibility in contributing towards efforts to reconstruct Iraq,” he told reporters after flagging off some 5,000 runners in the Malaysian Government Services Sports and Welfare Council’s Perdana Run at Dataran Putra here yesterday. 

Abdullah was commenting on reports that the United States would use money from the sale of Iraqi oil to pay for the country’s reconstruction. 

OFF YOU GO: Abdullah firing a shot to start off the 'Larian Perdana' at Dataran Putra in Putrajaya Sunday.

The United States has also announced that it planned to install an interim administration to run the country for at least several months after the war.  

However, countries like Britain, France, Australia and Germany have called for a major role by the United Nations in Iraq’s reconstruction and the provision of humanitarian aid.  

Abdullah said he had received a call from UN secretary-general Kofi Annan seeking Malaysia’s stand on the issue. 

“I have told him that we support the international body playing an active and prominent role in these areas (the reconstruction of Iraq and provision of humanitarian aid). 

“If the United States does not want the United Nations to play an active role, then it is up to them to discuss and resolve these issues,” he said.  

In Kuala Lumpur, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia would “hold the United States to its word” that the war in Iraq was to liberate and help the Iraqi people. 

“They must prove that the wealth (of Iraq) is in the hands of the Iraqis and not exploited to pay for the cost of the war or placed in the hands of foreign companies,” he said after opening the Cheras Umno division delegates convention at the Cheras Recreation Centre yesterday. 

In his address earlier, Najib said the war in Iraq was partly due to the disunity among the Middle East nations. 

The war, though a bitter lesson for Muslims, was one which should be learnt as it taught that unity was the mightiest weapon of all, he added.  

He said promoting unity should therefore be the main agenda for continued success in Malaysia and for Umno.  

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