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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Analysis: UN's crisis role
The UN Security Council
The Security Council could pull together a global alliance
By the BBC's Greg Barrow at the United Nations

Diplomats at the United Nations say the UN Security Council may be called on to play an increasingly important role if a global alliance is built up to counter international terrorism.

Many nations have already made support for retaliatory action by the United States conditional on authorisation from the Security Council.

Last week, the Security Council passed a resolution condemning the hijacking of planes and attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the strongest terms and expressed its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the tragedy.

But the US has yet to take up this offer and may still feel that it does not need the sanction of the Security Council, at least in the first stage of what may be a long and complicated campaign.

Useful UN

America has already been given the support of Nato member states, but it may also need the approval of non-Nato members like Russia, China and Pakistan.

This is where the UN Security Council could play an important role.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Mixed messages from non-Nato member Russia
Other nations have also made support for US military action dependent on Security Council approval.

And even if this is not initially sought by the Americans, they may find that the Council is useful in helping to bring together a global alliance to combat terrorism on a long-term basis.

There are already several UN conventions and resolutions dealing with issues associated with international terrorism.

The trouble is that few are being rigorously enforced and most lack the focus required to deal with the problem in a practical and comprehensive way.

See also:

13 Sep 01 | Americas
Nato agrees to back US
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