- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2002

NEW YORK U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday urged the Bush administration not to take unilateral action against Iraq, warning that following international law "must not be a matter of political convenience."
"Every government that is committed to the rule of law at home must be committed also to the rule of law abroad," he said in the advance text of a speech to be delivered this morning at the opening of the annual U.N. General Assembly debate.
"All states have a clear interest, as well as a clear responsibility, to uphold international law and maintain international order," Mr. Annan said.
He also pressed Baghdad to take steps to avert catastrophe. "I urge Iraq to comply with its obligations for the sake of its own people, and for the sake of world order. If Iraq's defiance continues, the Security Council must face its responsibilities."
Mr. Annan is to speak just before President Bush. His staff took the unprecedented step of releasing the text of the speech a day early out of concern that it would get lost in the tumult over the Bush speech.
Aides said the speech was not written solely with the United States in mind, but they acknowledged that U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte was the only official to receive an advance copy.
Mr. Bush is expected to use most of his 30-minute speech today to lay out the case that Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and therefore poses a threat to regional and international security.
After more than a month of sustained warnings of war and repeated promises by senior administration officials that the United States will act alone if necessary, there have been signs this week that Washington will try to build international support for its Iraq campaign.
A column published in yesterday's New York Times under Mr. Bush's name celebrated the community of responsible and nurturing nations, while warning unspecified nations that "we refuse to ignore or appease the aggression and brutality of evil men."
And Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, addressing a brief Security Council meeting on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, pledged continued international cooperation against shared threats.
"We are all in this together and so, on behalf of President Bush and the American people, I solemnly recommit the United States to our common fight against terrorism," he said.
"We join all members of the United Nations in the effort to build a world of peace, prosperity and freedom, where terrorism cannot thrive."
His remarks were made in the context of fighting terrorism, but the words seemed to reverberate for diplomats eager for a sign that Washington will seek an international mandate for a war with Iraq.
Almost 60 world leaders and twice as many foreign ministers are expected to address the U.N. General Assembly during the 10-day general debate.

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