Wednesday, March 24, 1999 Published at 23:46 GMT
Annan gives strikes qualified support
Kofi Annan said the Security Council should have been consulted
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said there was legitimacy for the use of force in Kosovo, but that the Security Council should have been involved in any decision over its use.
Mr Annan said: "It is indeed tragic that diplomacy has failed but there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace.
"But as secretary-general I have many times pointed out, not just in relation to Kosovo, that under the Charter the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security - and this is explicitly acknowledged in the North Atlantic Treaty.
"Therefore, the council should be involved in any decision to resort to the use of force.''
He spoke after Nato unleashed a first wave of bombs on Yugoslavia, and began by saying he was speaking "at a grave moment for the international community".
Britain, the US and their allies maintain they have authority to launch Nato strikes based on previous Security Council resolutions demanding a peaceful settlement in Kosovo.
Those resolutions were enacted under chapter seven of the UN Charter, and the article allows for resolutions to be militarily enforced.
Both Russia and China have been angered by the attacks, and said any military action must have prior security council approval.