Russia and France challenged the new U.S. resolution on Iraq Friday, introducing rival proposals eliminating tough U.S. language that they fear could authorize military force. The circulation of rival Russian and French texts was seen as the opening salvo in a new round of negotiations in the U.N. Security Council.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador James Cunningham said Washington wants a vote by the end of next week. Washington responded to the new texts by formally submitting its resolution to the Security Council to ensure it remains the basis for discussion. The Russian and French proposals could also be introduced, but the U.S. move meant its resolution would likely be voted on first.
At the end of more than four hours of closed-door consultations Friday, many council members said they wanted consensus on a single resolution.
Russia circulated a text eliminating all U.S. references to "material breach" and "serious consequences" — language it says could trigger a military attack if Iraq obstructs inspections, according to AP. It would also ignore nearly all U.S. proposals to broaden the powers of weapons inspectors.
France also removed references to "material breach." The French proposal would link the "serious consequences" to a reported failure of Iraqi compliance.
Bush discussed Iraq on Friday with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and said afterward that he would not accept a weak resolution. "Let me put it bluntly: There must be consequences," he said.
Cunningham said the United States listened to the other council members' concerns and was looking forward to hearing the views of chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency. They were to brief the council Monday.
"After that, I think we'll be in a good position to look at how we get forward to come to conclusion on the resolution next week," Cunningham said.
On his part, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that he expected the Security Council to adopt a unanimous resolution on Iraq. "I do expect a council resolution and I expect it to be unanimous," Annan said Friday.
"There are hard discussions going on and I hope in the end they will be fruitful and that inspectors will go back to Iraq with the support of the united council behind them," he added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
© 2000 - 2022 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)