Security Council Calls for Cease-Fire in Iran-Iraq War
SECRETARY'S STATEMENT, JURY 20, 1987(1)
I have come here today for a compelling reason: to take part in the decisive action of the Security Council to bring to an end the devastating war between Iran and Iraq. This conflict should never have been started. It should not be permitted to continue. My government simply cannot see how the interests of either Iraq and Iran, or the international community, would be served by prolongation of this dangerous, destructive conflict.
September marks the eighth year of the war. The bloody fighting has now lasted longer than either the First or Second World Wars. It has taken an extraordinary toll in human life. More than a million people--civilians as well as military personnel--have been killed or wounded. Cities have been razed by artillery and aerial attack. Chemical weapons have been used, and they honor no distinctions between combatants and noncombatants, adding another gruesome element to the enormous human suffering.
The economic infrastructure of both countries has been laid waste. The conflict has frayed the social and cultural fabric that binds the Iraqi and Iranian peoples to their ways of life. Grievous damage has been done to the rich cultural legacies of both nations. Neither combatant can win this war; and both sides are destroying their most precious resource, their youth.
Despite years of bitter struggle, neither side can break the tense stalemate. Its continuation, and the danger of further escalation, threaten the wider international community. The conflict poses new and serious dangers to regional stability, to the welfare of nonbelligerent nations, and, indeed, to world peace. Witness the increasing number of attacks on international shipping in the gulf. Witness stepped-up terrorist attacks and other forms of aggression directed at nonbelligerent states in the region. This widening threat must not be countenanced.
Too many have suffered; too much is at stake. In the name of humanity, in the interests of the …