The leading contender to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury has branded as "immoral" US plans to attack Iraq. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Wales, signed a declaration criticising the war on terror and insisting that military assaults on Saddam Hussein's regime would be "illegal".
In the latest edition of the Roman Catholic weekly The Tablet, Dr Williams and other clerics say attacking Iraq would be tantamount to fighting "terror with terror".
Their joint statement says: "It's deplorable that the world's most powerful nations continue to regard war and the threat of war as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy.
"It is our considered view that an attack on Iraq would be both immoral and illegal and that eradicating the dangers posed by malevolent dictators and terrorists can be achieved only by tackling the root causes of disputes."
Dr Williams, tipped to win the favour of the Prime Minister in the race to replace Dr George Carey, has also called the Afghanistan conflict "morally tainted" and "embarrassing".
His dissent on that issue and on any plans to launch military strikes against Iraq – at a time when the US is signalling that action is being considered – is backed by a number of Labour MPs.
Downing Street insisted yesterday that it had no immediate plans to go to war against Saddam Hussein, nor were there firm plans for Tony Blair and US President George Bush to hold talks about the issue soon.
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