KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Iraq warned delegates of the 114-nation Non-Aligned Movement on Friday that the "American machine of war" will target their countries next unless they help prevent a U.S.-led attack on Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi delegate Akila Al-Hashimi said her country's representatives told other countries at the gathering of mostly developing nations that "the defense of Iraq is now the defense of the civilized world."
"This war is just like a machine, and if it is not stopped with Iraq, the American machine of war will continue rolling over Third World countries," Al-Hashimi told reporters.
But Iraq didn't get the strong statement it was looking for. A statement proposed by Arab countries was outspoken enough in its condemnation of war that diplomats at the meeting suspended talks to confer with their governments.
U.S. allies Singapore and Chile, which holds a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, successfully sought to suspend debate until Saturday.
This meant the group will likely miss its intended midnight deadline to finalize statements ahead of weekend meetings of foreign ministers, and the two-day summit of leaders starting Monday.
The request by Singapore and Chile reflected wider unease among countries outside the Arab region, an African delegate said on condition of anonymity.
The language in the Arab-proposed declaration was far more supportive of Iraq and more strongly worded than a version debated earlier.
Language urging Iraq to comply with U.N. Security Council resolution 1441, which demands that Baghdad immediately give up alleged weapons of mass destruction, was substituted in the Arab-proposed declaration with wording that would merely "encourage" Iraq to "continue its compliance and remain actively engaged in the process" to meet "relevant" resolutions.