Following are excerpts from an interview with Kofi Annan by the BBC on September 16, 2004.
Q: Are you bothered that the US is becoming an unrestrainable, unilateral power?
A: Well, I think over the last year, we’ve all gone through lots of painful lessons. I’m talking about since the war in Iraq. I think there [have] been lessons for the US and there [have] been lessons for the UN and other member states and I think in the end everybody is concluding that it is best to work together with our allies and through the UN to deal with some of these issues. And I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time….
Q: …Do you think that the resolution that was passed on Iraq before the war did actually give legal authority to do what was done?
A: Well, I’m one of those who believe that there should have been a second resolution because the Security Council indicated that if Iraq did not comply there will be consequences. But then it was up to the Security Council to approve or determine what those consequences should be.
Q: So you don’t think there was legal authority for the war?
A: I have stated clearly that it was not in conformity with the Security Council—with the UN Charter.
Q: It was illegal?
A: Yes, if you wish.
Q: It was illegal?
A: Yes, I have indicated it is not in conformity with the UN Charter, from our point of view, and from the Charter point of view it was illegal.
This article is available to online subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:
Purchase a print premium subscription (20 issues per year) and also receive online access to all content on nybooks.com.
Purchase an Online Edition subscription and receive full access to all articles published by the Review since 1963.
Purchase a trial Online Edition subscription and receive unlimited access for one week to all the content on nybooks.com.