Bin Laden verbal attack adds to UN jitters


A scathing verbal attack on the United Nations by suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden came with a jittery organisation already on high alert since the September 11th attacks.

In a videotape broadcast yesterday broadcast by Al-Jazeera television in Qatar, bin Laden branded UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a "criminal" and said Arab leaders whose countries were members of the world body were "infidels".

Bin Laden also said the United States had "no proof" to justify its military campaign against Afghanistan, which began on October 7th, ten days after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that obliged all member states to co-operate in the fight against international terrorism.

"Without proof, the United Nations now adopts resolutions favorable to an unjust and tyrannical America and harmful to an oppressed people that went through a fierce war with the Soviet Union," bin Laden declared.

"We have suffered and continue to suffer because of the UN, and no Muslim or sensible person should turn (to the UN) because it is an instrument of crime," he said in the recorded address.

Mr Annan, who had been on a scheduled visit to Geneva, was about to depart for New York when the broadcast went to air. His spokesman's office said he had no immediate reaction to bin Laden's comments.

New York city authorities have, however, been treating the UN as a potential prime target for terrorist attack.