Iraq must abide by UN Security Council resolutions, Annan says
Iraq must abide by all United Nations Security Council resolutions, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters in New York today.
"The Council, of course, is free to pass any resolution that it wants to, and we, as a Secretariat, and UNMOVIC [the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission], will be guided by the guidance of the Council [including any] new resolution, and so should Iraq," he said in response to press questions.
Asked whether Baghdad has communicated any change in its policy on weapons inspections, the Secretary-General said the only communication he had received was last week's letter which he forwarded to the Council.
Responding to a question on what the Iraqi letter meant in terms of "unfettered access" for UN inspectors, the Secretary-General said that the UN had advised the Iraqis not to hedge their acceptance of the inspectors. "As far as I see it, it's a commitment by Iraq for the inspectors to go in and inspect and get their work done in an unimpeded manner, and report to the Council."
He noted the Security Council is in the process of discussing a proposed new resolution, which, if passed, would guide UNMOVIC and would require Iraq's compliance.
To a question on whether his work with Iraq had created tensions with the United States, he said that despite speculation in the press, his dealings with US officials were based on an understanding of the respective roles played by each. "They realize that they have their role and I have my role," he explained.
Asked whether US President George W. Bush's doctrine on pre-emptive strikes violated the UN Charter, the Secretary-General said that, on broader peace and security issues, the Security Council would have to pronounce itself. He noted his recent address to the General Assembly had dealt with the question of unilateral action.
Replying to a question on whether he was cautioning the Bush administration not to set a precedent for pre-emptive strikes, the Secretary-General noted that the administration had enormous capacity for analysis, and would explore such aspects before taking any decisions.