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Background: Chasing Votes at the U.N.

March 10, 2003 at 12:00 AM EDT


GWEN IFILL: French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin took his campaign against the latest Iraq resolution to Cameroon and Angola today.

DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN ( Translated ): I wanted to present France’s position on behalf of president Chirac and to keep up the very close dialogue between our countries over many months on this question.

GWEN IFILL: Of the 15 members of the Security Council, only four countries– the United States, Britain, Spain, and Bulgaria– publicly support the U.S.-sponsored resolution. France, China, Russia, Syria, Germany, and today Pakistan have signaled they will oppose it by voting no or abstaining. Barring a veto, the U.S. would need all five of the remaining undecided members to vote its way. Those countries: Mexico, Chile, and three African nations– Cameroon, Angola, and Guinea. Sec. Powell did his courting at home in Washington, meeting today with Guinea’s foreign minister Francois Fall. Powell he said he is not competing with his French counterpart for votes.

COLIN POWELL: He does what he has to do, and I do what I have to do. We are both working for causes we believe in. We are both trying to consult with all the members of the council.

GWEN IFILL: During Friday’s Security Council meeting, representatives from the undecided nations said they backed more time for inspections.

MUNIR AKRAM: We believe that there is no imminent threat to international peace and security. The cost of delay, in our view, will be much less than the cost of war. A credible pause for peace will be worthwhile.

GEORGES CHIKOTI: This body stands united in its determination to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. But its responsibilities include exhausting all diplomatic and peaceful means to achieve this disarmament.

GWEN IFILL: A vote in the Security Council is expected later this week.