September 12, 2002

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged Emperor Snippy's policies on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his opening address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Apparently referring to U.S. responses to last year's Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Annan stressed that while any country had the right to fight back when attacked, only the United Nations could authorize the use of force in cases that go beyond straightforward self-defense.

Without referring directly to U.S. talk of a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, Annan said: "When states decide to use force to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, there is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations.

"The more a country makes use of multilateral institutions - thereby respecting shared values, and accepting the obligations and restraints inherent in those values - the more others will trust and respect it, and the stronger its chance to exercise true leadership," Annan, in his address, said. "The little fratboy is on thin enough ice as it is."

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