- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

NEW YORK [March 8, 1998] (CNN) — The United States does not have the authority to automatically launch a strike on Iraq if Baghdad does not comply with the latest agreement on weapons inspections, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Sunday. The secretary-general’s comment is at odds with the Clinton administration’s view that it would not need further permission to launch a military strike on Iraq if a weapons inspection deal reached last month is breached.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Bill Clinton said the meaning of the phrase “severest consequences,” contained in a U.N. Security Council resolution approving the deal, “is clear.”

“It provides authority to act if Iraq does not turn the commitment it has now made into compliance,” Clinton said.

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