Havana: (South News, 17 Dec)- Cuba rejected, denounced and condemned the unilateral use of force by the United States against Iraq in a front page statement of Thursday morning's edition of the daily Granma.

In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, Cuba called for "the immediate cessation of attacks against the Arab nation."

The full text of the statement follows:

The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cuba observed with deep concern as the armed forces of the United States deployed in the Persian Gulf prepared a surprise air attack against Iraq.

Yesterday, December 16th, with the excuse that the work of the United Nations Special Commission in that country (UNSCOM) had been unexpectedly interrupted and an unusually precipitous report issued by that Commission, President Clinton, once the hasty withdrawal of UNSCOM members from Iraq was concluded, unilaterally ordered the commencement of bombing against targets in Iraq. This was done without conferring with the United Nations Security Council, an organization that Washington now ignores after having used it on numerous occasions for its own interests.

The bombing of Iraq, using Cruise missiles fired from naval vessels located in the Persian Gulf, began at 12:50 a.m. today, local Baghdad time. Once again, peace is trampled upon, the rules of International Law are violated and the physical well-being of the Iraqi people disregarded, with arguments that do not and cannot convince international public opinion.

Obviously, these attacks do not represent any solution for the problems regarding Iraq, nor do they serve to consolidate international peace and security. They work in direct opposition to these objectives.

Cuba rejects, denounces and condemns the unilateral use of force by the United States and, as on previous occasions, expresses its total repudiation of these illegitimate actions, which must cease immediately.

At the same time, Cuba calls on the United Nations Security Council to take the necessary measures to prevent similar actions from occuring again and to fulfill the mission for which it was created. Today, Iraq is the victim of imperial abuse. Tomorrow, another nation ould be the target of such dangerous conduct. This requires the strongest and most urgent rejection of the entire international community.