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US May Have International Authorization for Action in Afghanistan - 2001-09-24

The President of the United Nations Security Council is indicating that the United States may already have international authorization for military action in Afghanistan.

President Jean Levitte of France reminded reporters of the Security Council resolution adopted the day after the terrorist attacks on the United States. Part of that resolution says the perpetrators of the actions must be brought to justice and that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harboring the perpetrators will be held accountable.

Mr. Levitte says at least one group of world leaders believe that is sufficient to authorize U.S. military action. "Based on that resolution, the European Council, that is the heads of state and governments of the 15 members of the European Union, have stressed their unanimous position that this resolution can be used by the U.S. government if it feels it should exercise its right of legitimate defense," he said.

However, Mr. Levitte did not say that is the position of all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council. But some diplomats cite chapter 51 of the U.N. charter that grants all member nations the right of self defense.

The Security Council will continue closed consultations on the issue and Mr. Levitte says the Council will now receive formal briefings on the situation in Afghanistan at least once a week.