just in case story disappears by the time yall visit info:
U.N. chief also says violence could prevent January vote
Updated: 6:14 a.m. ET Sept. 16, 2004
UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan questioned on Wednesday whether Iraq could hold elections in January if violence persisted and said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was illegal because it violated the U.N. Charter.
Annan, in an interview with the BBC, said the 15-member Security Council should have approved the invasion of Iraq in mid-March 2003.
Questioned repeatedly whether he considered the war illegal, Annan said, “Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the U.N. Charter from our point of view, from the chapter point of view, it was illegal.”
“I hope we don’t see another Iraq-type operation for a long time ... without U.N. approval and much broader support from the international community,” Annan added.
Annan made a similar comment on March 10, 2003 during a news conference in The Hague, Netherlands, shortly before the invasion. He said that if the United States took military action without Security Council approval “it would not be in conformity with the Charter.”
The United States and Britain withdrew a draft resolution in the council in mid-March after it was clear there were not enough votes. France had threatened to veto if U.N. inspectors were not given more time to account for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Annan questions feasibility of January vote
The secretary-general, in a report to the council last week, said the persistent violence in Iraq would make it difficult to hold elections as planned in January. The United Nations has advised Iraqi officials on the polls.
In the BBC interview, Annan was blunter. “You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now,” he said.
Annan said a judgment will have to be made by the Iraqi government. But “obviously there may come a time when we have to make our own independent assessment,” he said.
On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister John Howard rejected Annan’s criticism.
Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, was one of the first nations to join the war on Iraq, with Howard committing 2,000 military personnel in March last year.
“The legal advice that we had, and I tabled it at the time, was that the action was entirely valid in international law terms,” Howard told Australian radio during campaigning for an Oct. 9 election in which the Iraq war is a major issue.
Howard said he still stood by advice he presented, or tabled, in parliament last year backing the case for war.
“That was a legal opinion we obtained from the relevant people in Australia. There had been a series of (U.N.) Security Council resolutions and the advice we had was that it was entirely legal,” he said.
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Question is how much does this matter now that we're there and over 1100 lives have been lost?