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Iraq Special Report

  Annan Says Consultation Needed for Iraq Strike


Associated Press
Monday, March 9, 1998; Page A15

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said yesterday that the United States would need to consult with the U.N. Security Council before mounting a military strike against Iraq.

"If the United States had to strike, I think some sort of consultations with the other members would be required," Annan said on ABC's "This Week."

Annan stressed that if Iraq breaks the agreement on full access for U.N. weapons inspectors he reached with President Saddam Hussein, "It would be much easier to get agreement in the council to take military action."

But he said three permanent members of the Security Council -- Russia, France and China -- have objected to giving the United States carte blanche to launch military action.

The Clinton administration insists that U.N. resolutions approved at the time of the Gulf War give the necessary legal authority for unilateral action in the event of Iraqi violations.

But the administration consulted extensively with other U.N. members and allies around the world as it prepared to attack Iraq last month over the stonewalling of U.N. inspection teams. The attack was averted after Annan went to Baghdad and convinced Saddam that he must open all sites to weapons inspectors.

Annan also said the Security Council should consider a request from Russia that a Russian be named as a second deputy on the U.N. weapons inspection commission. Bill Richardson, U.S. envoy to the United Nations, has indicated the United States might veto that request.

"I will proceed in the sense of putting the issue before the council members, and the United States can exercise its veto, but at least the council will be able to discuss whether it is a legitimate request," Annan said.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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