- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking hours after Congress gave President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq, yesterday urged the United States not to act alone.
"Any country when attacked has an inherent right to self-defense but when a country decides to deal with a broader threat to international peace and security, the approval and support of the Security Council is required," Mr. Annan said.
In a speech to students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Annan also said that members of the U.N. Security Council favor a two-step resolution on Iraq, in which the first would call for inspections. If Iraq failed to comply, a second resolution would authorize force.
The United States and Britain oppose the two-step approach because it would delay action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Annan's remarks came as the House and Senate sent to the White House a resolution authorizing the president to use military force, if necessary, to get rid of Iraqi biological and chemical weapons and to disband its nuclear-weapons program.
In a 77-23 Senate vote early yesterday morning, Democrats joined Republicans in giving Mr. Bush the authority to strike.
Just 21 of the 50 Democrats voted no, along with Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and independent James M. Jeffords of Vermont.
The House approved the resolution Thursday 296-133.
"I think there is an overwhelming consensus regardless of how one may have voted on the resolution that this is the plan that ought to be employed, that we have to be very careful about the employment of military personnel and weaponry," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who voted for the resolution. "While that may be necessary, we're not there yet."
Other lawmakers said Saddam has fooled the world long enough.
"I do not believe the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime will be eliminated until he is removed from power," said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.
The U.N. Security Council in which the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia serve as permanent, veto-wielding members yesterday remained as divided as ever over the resolution.
The Russians and Chinese continued to push for the two-step approach sponsored by France.
The Russian government yesterday expressed concern that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but it stopped well short of accepting the U.S.-British push for a single resolution, including authorization for the use of force.
"We do have apprehensions that such weapons might exist on the territory of Iraq and this is precisely why we want to see to it that U.N. inspectors travel there as fast as possible," Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday at a Moscow news conference after two days of talks with visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"We don't exclude the possibility of reaching some coordinated decision in the shape of a U.N. Security Council resolution," said Mr. Putin.
But Mr. Putin maintained that a new regime of weapons inspections, not the threat of force, was needed in Iraq.
"The US draft resolution cannot be accepted as a basis for a future UN Security Council resolution on Iraq as it contains clearly unfulfillable demands," Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
"If we are to reach a new decision (in the Security Council over Iraq) it should reflect the views of all members of the Security Council, including Russia," Mr. Fedotov added.
Mr. Blair sounded far more optimistic as he spoke to reporters on the flight back from Moscow to London.
"The consultations are intensifying now," he said. "The next few days and weeks will tell, but my best guess is that we will get the resolution we need."
Mr. Annan said in his speech that member states appear to be heading toward a two-step resolution on Iraq.
"I think the member states want a two-stage approach send in the inspectors," he said. "If they get into trouble, if it fails, come back and we will pass the second resolution," which would authorize the use of force against Iraq.
U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard swiftly stressed that Mr. Annan himself did not favor one approach over another, but was merely expressing his impression of the views of member states.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials yesterday informed chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that they were ready to receive their teams anytime after Oct. 19, with the goal of eventually lifting the U.N. sanctions.
However, the two-page letter did not address issues posed by the U.N. officials regarding private interviews with Iraqi citizens, and inspectors' safety and security within central Iraq.
"It's another example of the Iraqis delaying," said one U.S. official who has seen the letter. "They're calling for more talks, and trying to negotiate their obligations."
In the first official Iraqi reaction to the vote, Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said: "I am not surprised by this vote, and we will confront these plans of aggression."
Earlier this week, the head of Iraq's armament program this week nvited the U.S. representatives "immediately" inspect two sites where Washington suspects Baghdad of having resumed its prohibited weapons programs.
"The American administration can send whoever it wants to visit the An-Nasr and Al-Furat sites, which it suspects of being used to produce weapons of mass destruction," said Abdel Tawab Mulla Howeish, also military industries minister.
Betsy Pisik contributed to this report from New York.

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