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US Clarifies Letter to Security Council - 2001-10-09


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says one sentence in a United States letter to the U.N. Security Council did cause some anxiety among members but indicates the U.S. explanation is reasonable.

One sentence seemed to stand out in a letter sent Monday from the United States to the U.N. Security Council. The letter, justifying U.S. action against the Taleban and terrorist bases in Afghanistan, contained the following: "We may find that our self defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other states."

Mr. Annan noted the sentence did cause "some anxiety" but indicated it has now been clarified. "But the U.S. has indicated that this is not a predictor of any intentions that it intends to take but basically a statement that they are at early stages and keeping their options open." he said. "And I think the White House spokesman addressed this question yesterday. But that is one line that disturbed some of us."

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, earlier told reporters the sentence simply means that the United States reserves the right to exercise self defense in the future if circumstances warrant it.

Diplomatic sources say that Mr. Negroponte visited Iraq's U.N. ambassador Mohammed al-Douri to warn Iraq not to take advantage of the current situation to threaten its neighbors. Neither side will confirm the exchange, but the sources say Mr. al-Douri informed Mr. Negroponte his nation is not threatening anyone and hopes the United States will not use the current situation as an excuse to attack Iraq.

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