KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Foreign ministers from the Non-Aligned Movement, a body of mostly developing countries, expressed "grave concern" over an invasion of Iraq on Saturday but insisted that Baghdad show it has rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.
They also refused to characterize possible military action against Iraq as "aggression."
A declaration being prepared for Monday's two-day summit of the 114-nation Non-Aligned Movement urged Baghdad to comply with U.N. Resolution 1441 demanding that Iraq disarm, "which will assure the world in a peaceful way that weapons of mass destruction are eliminated in Iraq."
Despite the backing by some Arab countries for a statement making fewer demands on Baghdad, foreign ministers preparing for the summit adopted a proposal by host Malaysia insisting that Iraq comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The document, to be formally endorsed by the heads of government after their summit opens Monday, dropped Arab characterization of any conflict as "aggression."
The resolution said the Non-Aligned Movement -- which accounts for 55 percent of the world's population and almost two-thirds of U.N. members -- considers "with grave concern the precarious and rapidly deteriorating situation arising from the looming threat of war against Iraq."
"It is a balanced statement because it shows everyone is against unilateral action against Iraq or any other country," said Gholomali Khoshroo, Iran's deputy foreign minister. "At the same time, they have urged Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations."
Adoption of the Iraq declaration ended two days of wrangling over its precise wording. Iraq is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which was set up in 1955 to pave a neutral path between the United States and the Soviet bloc and which regularly opposes military action against any Third World state.