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UN: Annan And Bush To Address Assembly On Iraq

United Nations, 12 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will tell the UN General Assembly today that only the UN can sanction the use of force against Iraq. Annan is scheduled to address the assembly today. His remarks were released by the UN spokesman's office last night.

Annan will not mention the possible U.S. plans to attack Iraq. He will say there is no substitute for the "unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations" when states "decide to use force to deal with broader threats to international peace and security."

Annan will say Iraq is defying UN Security Council resolutions and that it must allow the return of UN weapons inspectors. He will say that will be the "indispensable first step" to assure the world that Iraq's deadly weapons have been scrapped and the first step toward the suspension and eventual ending of UN sanctions. The inspectors left Iraq in December 1998 ahead of U.S. and British air strikes.

U.S. President George W. Bush, who is expected to outline his case for a possible U.S. military strike on Iraq, will speak shortly after Annan. U.S. officials say Bush will urge the UN to end what Bush will call Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's "decade of defiance" of UN resolutions demanding that Iraq disarm. Bush will say the UN will "risk irrelevance" if it fails to enforce its resolutions on Iraq.

Bush also is expected to outline his case for possible U.S. military action against Iraq. U.S. officials declined to say whether Bush will issue any sort of deadline for Iraq to comply with UN resolutions or request a specific UN resolution on Iraq.

Bush has accused Iraq of developing weapons of mass destruction and has vowed to oust the Iraqi regime.

Iraq has repeatedly said the U.S. has not produced any evidence to prove it has or is developing such weapons.