The United States said it had dropped a key demand that any new UN Security Council resolution on Iraq include an automatic authorization of the use of force if Baghdad does not disarm.
But Washington is still insisting that it could act alone against Saddam Hussein without a UN resolution if the United Nations does not take action against the Iraqi regime. The new US stance will enable the council to consider authorizing the use of force if chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix determined that Iraq is not complying with the terms of UN resolutions, US officials said, accordingo to AFP.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Blix should report back to the Security Council which should then "deal with the problem." "Our preference is for the Security Council to take action if Iraq doesn't comply," he told reporters.
"If they deal effectively with the problem with the collective action, with military action or something, so much the better," Boucher said. "If they don't, as we've stated in the congressional resolution and elsewhere, the president still has his authority. We're going to deal with the problem one way or the other," he stated.
The probable resolution to be tabled by the United States would set in place a two-stage process, reconvening the Security Council before any military attack on Iraq took place, diplomats said.
France cautiously welcomed Friday elements of the new U.S. compromise offer on Iraq. French President Jacques Chirac said negotiations for a new resolution were moving "in the right direction." "There's no opposition between the French and American positions," Chirac said.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov for the first time suggested his country would consider military action in Iraq if necessary. Ivanov said the Security Council could take measures against Iraq "including the use of force" if arms inspectors found it was hindering its efforts to disarm it.
If UN-mandated weapons inspectors in Iraq encountered difficulties in carrying out their mission, the UN Security Council "will examine the issue again and decide whether new, stricter measures, possibly including the use of force, should be taken," Ivanov told a press conference. (Albawaba.com)
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