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United States Submits Draft Resolution to U.N.

BY Admin  October 25, 2002 at 5:45 PM EDT

Friday was the same day France and Russia began circulating proposals to significantly reduce the forceful language of the resolution, according to diplomats.

The United States first floated its resolution on Wednesday. The draft declares Iraq in “material breach” of U.N. resolutions and threatens “serious consequences” if Iraq does not comply with weapons inspections.

The Russian proposal circulated Friday omitted most of the language that called for tough consequences, while the French version attempted to compromise between the hard-line U.S. draft and the Russian proposal, diplomats told the Associated Press.

The formal submission of the U.S. resolution means it is the version that will serve as the basis for discussions.

British U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, whose country is co-sponsoring the U.S. resolution, spoke to reporters about the conflicting drafts.

“I think it shows that they’re genuinely trying to conduct a negotiation,” Greenstock said. “But I think they need to realize that the United States and the United Kingdom are pretty firm about what they want to see in the text.”

U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, insisted that there can be no negotiation on including the phrase “material breach,” or the threat of “serious consequences.”

Passage of the resolution requires nine “yes” votes from the 15-member Security Council. It also requires that the five permanent members — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States — allow it to pass without a veto.

So far no members have threatened a veto, but Russia and France hope to get support from the ten non-permanent members to change some of the wording in the resolution.

In Crawford, Texas today, President Bush said that he asked Chinese President Jiang Zemin to back the U.S. resolution. China opposes military action in Iraq and is expected to abstain from a vote on a resolution, rather than use its veto power. The Bush administration believes it has a solid majority among the ten temporary members of the Security Council.

Jagdish Koonjul, the U.N. Ambassador from Mauritius, one of the temporary council members, said the resolution needs work.

“We’ll try to build consensus around some language that would be acceptable to everyone… We are trying to build bridges rather than break them,” he said.

On Monday, the council will hear views on the U.S. resolution from chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency.