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Annan Urges Washington Not to Widen Anti-Terror War to Iraq - 2001-12-09


U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan is urging Washington not to widen its war on terrorism to Iraq.

Mr. Annan, speaking at a news conference today (Sunday) in Oslo, Norway, said any decision to attack Iraq would be unwise and, in his view, could lead to a major escalation of violence in the region. He also said any move into Iraq would need to be debated by the U-N Security Council.

The U-N Secretary General is scheduled to receive the centenary Nobel Peace Prize on Monday. Mr. Annan said it felt "almost indecent" to be receiving a peace prize, while so many conflicts rage.

He also expressed deep concern that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres could not come to Oslo to attend the Nobel 100th anniversary celebrations.

Mr. Arafat and Mr. Peres both shared the 1994 peace prize with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for accepting a Middle East peace process known as the Oslo agreement.

Mr. Annan also expressed worry that the Afghanistan issue will overshadow other crises that the world has to address including AIDS and poverty.

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