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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Annan: Iraq Has Right To Fire in No-Fly Zone

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that recent Iraqi attacks on U.S. and British planes in the so-called no-fly zone did not constitute a violation of the recently passed tough UN Security Council resolution on Iraq.

"Let me say that I don't think the [Security] Council will say that this is in contravention of the resolution that was recently passed," Annan told reporters in a village near Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, where he is on an official visit.

However, in Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday the Iraqi anti-aircraft fire "appears to be a violation" of the latest UN resolution.

Also Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called recent Iraqi attacks in the no-fly zone "unacceptable," but said the United States would hold back on going to the Security Council to debate possible military action against Iraq.

The United States appeared to be the only member in the 15-member council to claim that a violation of the no-fly zone could be a trigger for war under the recently passed Resolution 1441.

One sentence in the resolution says Iraq "shall not take or threaten hostile acts" against any personnel of any UN member state who are "taking action to uphold" any Security Council resolution.

Some in the Bush administration say this is relevant to the flight-interdiction patrols because the flights were implemented to uphold an April 1991 UN resolution designed to keep Iraq from repressing its civilian population.

That view is not universally accepted, however, because the patrols are not explicitly authorized by the Security Council.