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Home >> World
UPDATED: 21:02, December 30, 2006
Saddam's execution draws mixed reactions
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The execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Saturday drew mixed reactions from governments and organizations around the world.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said here Saturday that the Iraqi affairs should be decided by the Iraqi people and China hopes Iraq can realize stability and development at an early date.

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush said in a statement that "Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq". He also described the execution as "an important milestone" on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said Saddam had been "held to account", but reiterated the British government's opposition to the use of the death penalty.

She said that the British government welcomes the execution of Saddam for some crimes he committed against the Iraqi people, but advocates "an end to the death penalty worldwide".

"But we respect their decision as that of a sovereign nation," said Beckett.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was not planning to comment on the execution, because Beckett's statement represented the British government's position.

According to reports from Interfax news agency, Russia's foreign ministry expressed regret over the execution, saying that the Iraqi authorities ignored calls from the international community to abolish the capital punishment.

His execution may result in deterioration of the military and political situation in Iraq and heighten the ethnic and religious tension, it said.

France, which opposes the death penalty, said in a statement that the decision of execution belongs to the Iraqi people and the Iraqi sovereign authorities. The statement called on the Iraqi people to work for reconciliation.

Iran's official IRNA agency reported that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Reza Asefi hailed Saddam's execution as a victory for all Iraqi people.

In Kuwaiti, Jassem Mohammad al-Kharafi, speaker of the parliament said the execution was "fair and just."

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia respects the decision of the Iraqi authorities to execute Saddam, but has reservations as the execution might intensify the conflict in that country.

In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation of the world, the government said it hoped the execution will not worsen relations between the warring parties and complicate national reconciliation efforts in the country.

Israel hailed the execution, saying that Saddam "brought about his own demise". According to Israel public radio, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres called Saddam as "a man who caused a great deal of harm to his people and who was a major threat to Israel".

The Vatican's spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, denounced the execution of Saddam, calling it "tragic" and expressing his worries about its possible negative consequences.

Lombardi said that the death penalty could not be justified even when the person sentenced to death had been found guilty of serious crimes.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a statement that Australia respects Iraq's decision and that the execution "marks an important step in pursuing a process of reconciliation now and in the future," adding that Australia supports the abolition of capital punishment.

In Sydney, many Iraqi-Australians, most of whom are refugees fleeing Saddam's brutality, celebrated throughout the day in the main street of suburban Auburn.

However, Kevin Rudd, leader of the major opposition Labor party said, "Labor questions whether the execution of Saddam Hussein will in any way reduce sectarian and political violence in Iraq, which has already brought that country to the brink of civil war."

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai frowned on the timing of the execution, but said it was "the work of the Iraqi government" and would have "no effect" on Afghanistan.

"We wish to say that Eid is a day for happiness and reconciliation. It is not a day for revenge," Karzai told reporters at the presidential palace after offering an Eid prayer at Kabul's main mosque early Saturday.

In Tripoli, the Libyan government declared three days of national mourning after the execution. Flags were lowered to half staff on public buildings and all festivities for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha which begins this weekend have been cancelled, the official JANA news agency reported.

Tomohiko Taniguchi, deputy press secretary of Japan's Foreign Ministry, said Japan respects the decision made by the Iraqi government according to due process and legal procedures, and hopes the execution will become a source of reconciliation among the Iraqi people.

Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Brazil does not believe the execution will contribute to peace in Iraq.

Malaysia, which currently holds the chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), expressed its surprise on Saddam's execution and questioned the legal procedures under which the sentence had been carried out.

U.S.-based human rights group Human Rights Watch condemned the hanging, saying history would judge Saddam's trial and execution "harshly".

India's governing Congress Party called the hanging as "unfortunate". Janardhan Dwivedi, general secretary of the party, said in a statement that India hopes the execution "will not stand in the way of the process of restoring normalcy and reconciliation in Iraq."

Source: Xinhua

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