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Iraq war illegal, says Annan

September 16, 2004 10:17 IST

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has termed the United States-led invasion of Iraq "illegal".

"I've indicated that it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, and from the charter point of view it was illegal," Annan told the BBC World Service on Wednesday.

The decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the UN Security Council, not unilaterally, he said, adding, "I am one of those who believe that there should have been a second resolution."

And he feared elections planned for January would not go ahead in Iraq unless security improved.

The UN will give advice and assistance to the Iraqi interim government in the run-up to the polls, he said. But he added that it was up to the administration to decide whether elections should take place in such an atmosphere.

Annan said "painful lessons" had been learnt since the war and hoped that "we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time -- without UN approval and much broader support from the international community."

"Lessons for the US, the UN and other member states. I think in the end everybody's concluded it's best to work together with our allies and through the UN."

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