U.S., Britain submit new Iraq resolution
The United States, Britain and Spain submitted to the U.N. a resolution Monday declaring that Baghdad has missed "the final opportunity" to disarm peacefully.
British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock formally submitted the resolution to the Security Council on behalf of the three nations.
Meanwhile, France, Russia and Germany, which oppose the war option, circulated an alternative plan to pursue a peaceful disarmament of Iraq over at least the next five months. China said it also supports that proposal.
To pass, the U.S.-backed resolution must have nine "yes" votes and avoid a veto by France, Russia or China. Eleven of the 15 council members want to see U.N. weapons inspections continue; Bulgaria is likely to support the U.S.-British-Spanish proposal.
Secretary of State Colin Powell urged China to support the new resolution at meetings with top officials in Beijing on Monday, but the Chinese stood by their long-standing position that U.N. inspections should go on.
The draft resolution does not set any deadlines. But U.S. and British officials made clear they want the Security Council to vote by mid-March.
The resolution declares that Iraq has failed to take advantage of its last chance to disarm peacefully and therefore must face the "serious consequences" the Security Council threatened in Resolution 1441, which was adopted unanimously on Nov. 8.
The new resolution recalls that "Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations" under U.N. resolutions.
It also recalls that council decided on Nov. 8 "that false statements or omissions" in its 12,000-page declaration to U.N. weapons inspectors "and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of that resolution, would constitute a further material breach."
The resolution notes that the council has repeatedly warned Iraq "that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations." It also observes that Iraq's Dec. 7 weapons declaration contained "false statements and omissions."
The resolution acts under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, making it militarily enforceable. It does not call for "all necessary means" to be used against Iraq. Instead, its only enforcement paragraph would have the Security Council decide "that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441."
French diplomats said the French-German-Russian plan, which includes strengthened U.N. weapons inspections, can be implemented under existing U.N. resolutions and would be submitted as a memorandum.
"The aim is to establish a timetable for Iraq's disarmament, program by program, relating to weapons of mass destruction," French President Jacques Chirac told reporters in Berlin before talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
"The Security Council must step up its efforts to give a real chance to the peaceful settlement of this crisis," the French, Russian and German paper said, according to AP.
President Bush told U.S. governors earlier Monday that the resolution "spells out what the world has witnessed the last months. The Iraq regime has not disarmed. The Iraqi regime is not disarming as required by last fall's unanimous vote of the Security Council."
He pressed the council to adopt the resolution.
"It's a moment for this body ... to determine whether or not it's going to be relevant as the world confronts threats in the 21st century. Is it going to be a body that means what it says? We certainly hope so," Bush said.
The American leader said the administration would work with the Security Council "in the days ahead" on the resolution. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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