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Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 02:34 GMT 03:34 UK
UN Security Council backs attacks
Radar tracking US attacks
The US says it may widen its hunt for terrorists
The United Nations Security Council has given its backing to US-led strikes on Afghanistan, soon after America warned that its campaign against terrorism might lead it to act against other countries.

We may find that our self-defence requires further actions with respect to other organisations and other states

US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte
Speaking after a briefing by the US and the UK, the council's Irish president, ambassador Richard Ryan, said council members were broadly supportive of the military action.

The briefing followed the release of a letter from the US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, to the Security Council.

It warned that US attacks might not be restricted to Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda group.

The letter said the US investigation was still in its early stages and "there is still much we do not know".

US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte
Negroponte's words likely to cause concern
"We may find that our self-defence requires further actions with respect to other organisations and other states," the letter said.

Mr Negroponte's words are likely to cause concern in some Middle Eastern capitals, in case America widens its campaign to take in long-standing enemies such as Iraq.

Iraq's Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, told the Arabic-language al-Jazeera television station that any targeting of Iraq by the US and Britain would be using "the pretext of terrorism" to settle old scores.

"Iraq has nothing to do at all with the groups which the United States charge with masterminding what happened," he said.

loading bombs
US action "allowed under UN charter"
Allies of the US, eager for the military campaign to be seen as targeting terrorism rather than the Muslim world, hurried to play down the letter's implications.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "The agreement at the moment is that (the strikes) are confined to Afghanistan. That is where the problem is."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Washington had carried out the military strikes within the UN charter, which allows nations under attack to defend themselves.

To defeat terrorism, "we need a sustained effort and a broad strategy that unites all nations and addresses all aspects of the scourge we face," Mr Annan said.

The BBC's Jim Fish
"UN backing forms a vital weapon"
Hisham Melham from the Al Safir newspaper
"This battle could lead to another phase"
See also:

01 Oct 01 | Americas
UN debates terrorism
08 Oct 01 | World
Raids split US friends and foes
09 Oct 01 | Middle East
Syria gets UN security seat
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