Tuesday, October 19, 2004

No10 did not tell truth about Iraq, says diplomat who quit

From The Independent:

A high-flying diplomat who helped frame the Government arguments that laid the groundwork for the Iraq war, has resigned because Downing Street "did not tell the whole truth" about the Iraqi threat.

Carne Ross, a former first secretary to Britain's UN mission between 1998 and mid-2002 in charge of Iraq issues, had resigned a month ago just as he was about to take up a senior post in London.

Asked about his reasons, 38-year-old Mr Ross told The Independent yesterday: "I had lost trust in a Government that I believe did not tell the whole truth about the alleged threat posed by Iraq before the war."

He also highlighted the Government's failure to "fully pursue available alternatives to invasion", a reference to the option of allowing the UN weapons inspections to continue. But the diplomat, who had taken a year's sabbatical before going on to serve until last month as chief strategist to the UN mission in Kosovo, refused to comment further.

Mr Ross is the second senior Iraq expert from the Foreign Office to resign over the war. Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a deputy head in the legal department, left in March 2003. Other prominent officials including the chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, have said the war was illegal. Mr Ross's position reflects the unease about the prosecution of the war among those who knew there was no new evidence that Saddam Hussein represented a direct threat to Britain.

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