White House spokesman Scott McClellan, addressing reporters Monday, said the United States has the option to refer the violations to the Security Council. But he did not say whether Washington would do so.
On Sunday, U-S Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called the attacks unacceptable and a violation of the U-N resolution, but said the United States is holding back on going to the Security Council at this time.
Iraq Monday described the U-S position on the matter as a violation of international law, saying Washington is using it as a cover to justify acts of aggression.
Allied warplanes bombed Iraqi defense systems in the northern no-fly zone over Iraq Monday after being fired on during routine patrols northeast of Mosul. Planes also bombed an Iraqi air-defense system Sunday after Iraqi forces fired at coalition aircraft. The jets also dropped leaflets in southern Iraq warning Iraq's military not to target coalition planes. The developments came as the United Nations' top weapons inspectors met with Iraqi officials for talks aimed at resuming inspections for banned weapons for the first time in four years. The French News Agency quotes chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix as saying he believed he was making progress after the first round of talks.
Earlier, Mr. Blix told reporters his team is in Iraq because the world wants assurances there are no weapons of mass destruction in the country. He said the situation is tense, but that inspections offer an opportunity to defuse tensions.
Mr. Blix and Mohamed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency are heading a team of some 30 members who will begin preliminary work to prepare for inspections. Mr. Blix told the French News Agency he is not sure if he will meet with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during his stay in Baghdad.
The first actual inspections are to take place November 27th. Full-scale work at Iraqi sites is to begin after December eighth -- the deadline for Baghdad to give the U-N Security Council details of its weapons programs. Inspectors are due to file a report to the Security Council by January 27th. The Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations -- Mohammed al-Douri said Monday Iraq will cooperate fully with the inspectors and deny the United States any excuse to launch military action.
President Bush, who has threatened military action, says there will be no tolerance for Iraqi maneuvering to avoid detection of banned weapons.