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Secretary General: Secretariat Not Informed Until After 16 Feb 01 Bombing/Awkward Timing/Only UNSC Competent to Determine "No-Fly" Zones' Legality (20 and 22 Feb 01)



http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sgcuff.htm

Remarks upon arrival at UNHQ, 20 February 2001

SG: Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen. I hope you all had a good long weekend. Who is going to ask 
the first question? 

Q: Do you have anything to say about Iraq? Do you think these raids are going to complicate your 
mission with the delegation that is coming? 

SG: Let me say that I was not consulted or informed before the air action. It was immediately after 
the air action that the US authorities called to explain to me that they saw this as routine, not 
escalation, not a qualitative difference in their activities in Iraq and that it was one action and 
it was not to continue. Obviously, the timing is a bit awkward for the talks that I am going to 
have on the 26th , but the Iraqis have confirmed that they are coming. So we will be able to pursue 
our attempts to break the impass and pull them in to cooperate with the UN. 

Q: How optimistic are you, Mr. Annan? 

SG: Ask me that question after my first round with the Iraqi authorities. We will know at the end 
of the talks. You have to have some hope, otherwise I wouldn't be getting into this exercise. It 
may take some time. I don't think we are going to have a miraculous breakthrough, but at least it 
is a beginning. It's a beginning. 

Q: Is there any intention to condemn the killing of many Iraqis because of the aggression? 

SG: I have been in touch with the President of the Security Council. The Council is seized of the 
matter. And as I said I have also spoken to the American Ambassador. And of course we are all 
coming back from a long weekend, and we will know this morning what action, if any, the Security 
Council is going to take.

***************************************************

http://www.un.org/News/dh/latest/page2.html#44

Only Security Council can assess acts in Iraq 'no-fly zones,' Annan tells Baghdad

22 February  Responding to calls from Baghdad for a condemnation of recent air actions in Iraq, 
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has emphasized that only the Security Council can determine the 
legality of actions in the "no-fly zones" declared over parts of the country. 

The Secretary-General's position was voiced in a letter he sent yesterday to the Foreign Minister 
of Iraq, who earlier this week wrote to Mr. Annan calling for condemnation of last Friday's "act of 
aggression" by the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Annan's reply pointed out that only the Security Council can interpret its resolutions. 
"Consequently, only the Council itself is competent to determine whether or not its resolutions are 
of such a nature and effect as to provide a lawful basis for the 'no-fly zones' and for the actions 
that have been taken for their enforcement."

The letter noted that the "no-fly zones" were declared by "certain Members" of the Security Council 
claiming authority under the Council's resolutions.

Baghdad maintains that actions by the United States and the United Kingdom constituted a violation 
of the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait, and should be prevented by the UN peacekeeping 
mission in the area, which goes by the acronym UNIKOM. Responding to this position, the 
Secretary-General pointed out that since 1999, UNIKOM has recorded over 200 aerial violations of 
the demilitarized zone, although in most of those cases it was not possible to identify the 
aircraft involved or determine its nationality.

Mr. Annan emphasized that UNIKOM's inability to identify the States that are responsible for 
conducting such flights does not mean that the UN condoned them. "I would note in this regard that, 
in view of the fact that the United States of America and the United Kingdom have been conducting 
military air operations in the region, the United Nations has intervened with representatives of 
those States urging them to respect the demilitarized zone," he wrote.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister, along with a delegation from Baghdad, are due to arrive at UN 
Headquarters in New York next week for high-level talks aimed at breaking the current impasse. 
Commenting on the programme of the talks, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said today that "we have 
presented a format to the Iraqis and we are waiting for their reaction."

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