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US Ambassador to UN Non-Committal About Possible Use of Force Resolution - 2001-09-20

Only the second day on his job, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is wasting no time consulting his colleagues on the shape of U.N.'s response to last week's terror attack. However, John Negroponte is non-committal about seeking a U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force.

On his way to meet with U.N. Security Council president, Jean Levitte of France, Mr. Negroponte was asked if the United States wants the Council to authorize military force to deal with terrorists. "We are in a period of intense diplomatic consultations both in Washington and around the world both multilateral, regional and bilateral," he said. "I am here this morning to pay a call on the president of the Security Council and I think that I just want to limit my remarks to that, other than to say that [meeting with Security Council President] is part of our consultative process.

Mr. Negroponte says the United States has not ruled out any options, including the possibility of a Security Council resolution.

The Council has already passed a resolution condemning the terrorism and urging all governments to cooperate in bringing those responsible to justice. However, that resolution does not specifically call for the use of military action.

Some diplomats say a Security Council resolution is not necessary for the United States to use force because the U.N. Charter authorizes all member nations to defend themselves against attacks.

Prior to the 1991 Gulf War, the Security Council did specifically authorize the U.S.-led military coalition to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.