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September 23, 2010

Iraq war was illegal, confirms Clegg

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, remains convinced the war in Iraq was illegal, saying that he is not going to deny it and that it is his own view and not that of the Coalition Government.

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi Clegg also agreed that any final agreement between Israel and the Palestinian people needs to include Hamas but that it is one of the main hurdles to overcome.

Just returning from a visit to Pakistan, he said that he did not think many people still realise how bad the situation is from the floods and again criticised the world’s response, saying he was “still not sure if the international community has grasped the enormity of what’s going.” But Clegg denied that Prime Minister, David Cameron’s accusations in India that Pakistan was exporting terrorism caused the slow response.

Clegg also went to Afghanistan, where he said that the Taliban should be allowed to join the Government of Afghanistan. “No insurgency ever in history has ever been defeated by military means alone ever. We don’t believe that’s possible, no-one believes that’s possible. You have to do two things. You have to apply relentless military pressure so that the Taliban leadership, particularly in Afghanistan and wherever they’re hiding over the border over in the mountainous regions of Pakistan, realise there is no military option for them, they have to pursue non-violent means of promoting their cause. And then you need to provide a process by which that non-violent dialogue can take place,” he told The Muslim News.

In July, Clegg said that the war in Iraq was illegal when deputising at Prime Minister’s Questions, but his officials said that this was only his view and was not speaking for the Government. He remained adamant that this continues to be his view although not of Cameron and the Conservatives. “We’re in a coalition government. I’m not going to start denying my own views. The Government itself as a whole does not have a view on the legality of the war. That’s something lawyers will no doubt be arguing about for a long time, but unlike my partner in the coalition government, myself and the Liberal Democrats are staunchly against the Iraq invasion and I’m not suddenly going to airbrush that out of the record, I can’t, that would be very naïve of me to do that.”

The interview with The Muslim News Editor Ahmed J Versi took place on 3 September. Full interview will appear on Friday 24 September issue of the newspaper.

For further information contact us on 020 8863 8586 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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