Statement on the United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning the Iran-Iraq War

July 20, 1987

The United Nations Security Council has taken an historic step today toward ending the increasingly dangerous conflict between Iran and Iraq. The Security Council's firm action offers a rare opportunity for a reduction of tensions and a just peace in this vital area of the world. We must not let that opportunity slip away. We hope that both countries will comply with the Security Council's cease-fire and withdrawal order. Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar will vigorously renew his mediation effort with the two governments. I have pledged to the Secretary-General that the United States will spare no effort to support this process.

I urge all members of the United Nations to join in using their influence with the belligerents to persuade them to bring an end to this tragic war. None of us can afford continuation of this bloody and destructive conflict, now in its seventh year. Too many have suffered and died already; too many new dangers have been created by the recent escalation and spread of the war. That is why the United States has been so actively seeking peace. That is why there has been unprecedented recent cooperation among the members of the Security Council, cooperation which testifies not only to the increasing gravity of the problem but also to the strength of the international commitment to resolving it.

As we act to help transform the Security Council's mandatory resolution into reality, the United States will also stand by its commitments to the security and stability of its nonbelligerent friends in the region. In doing so, we seek simply to deter growing threats to vital U.S. and international interests and to hasten a just settlement of the Iran-Iraq war. Peace is our objective, not taking sides or provocation.

The administration and the Congress both have examined the situation in the Gulf very closely over the past several weeks. As we move ahead to defend our interests and enhance the chances for peace in that crucial region, it is essential that we try to work together. Not to do so would only undercut our diplomatic efforts, embolden our adversaries, and cast grave doubts upon the ability of the United States to conduct its foreign policy effectively and honor its commitments.