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U.S. to U.N.: Reprisals against other countries possible

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Attacks against other countries might be necessary in an international campaign against terrorism, U.S. officials told the United Nations Monday.

In a letter to the U.N.'s Security Council, John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the world body, said the nation's inquiry into terror attacks could lead beyond Afghanistan's borders.

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"We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other states," Negroponte said in the letter.

The United States and Britain were scheduled Monday to brief the full Security Council on their military action, detailing the targets and aims of Sunday's air strikes on Taliban and al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan.

Negroponte's letter explained the reasons behind the aerial attacks on Afghanistan Sunday and Monday, said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Its delivery to the U.N. was expected, as the world body's charter requires member nations defending themselves from attack to submit a letter explaining their actions.

"The United States reserves the right to defend itself," Fleischer said.

The contents of the letter, Fleischer said, were nothing new -- several recent speeches by President Bush have stated that the hunt for those responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon may lead to suspects outside Afghanistan. But Fleischer refused to say which other nations could be possible targets in the international terrorists hunt.

The letter lays out what U.S. officials consider clear and compelling information linking suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization to the September attacks.

Investigators also believe Afghanistan's Taliban regime has supported them, and that al Qaeda continues to train and support terrorists who attack innocent people and target Americans, the letter said.


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