The United States and the UK have submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations saying that Iraq has missed its "final opportunity" to disarm peacefully.
France and Germany say inspections are working
The draft, which states that Iraq has breached the terms of last November's resolution, faces strong opposition in the 15-member Security Council.
France, Germany and Russia have submitted a rival proposal to the Council to intensify weapons inspections in Iraq as an alternative to military action.
The proposal underlines the bitter rift between France and Germany - who are staunchly opposed to war - and the United States, says BBC Berlin correspondent Ray Furlong.
Co-signed by Spain, the text of the US and UK's resolution refers to the warning in Resolution 1441 that Iraq faces "serious consequences" if it does not fully co-operate - a threat which has been interpreted as the use of force.
NEXT STEPS IN IRAQ CRISIS
24 Feb onwards: US-UK new resolution due
28 Feb or soon after: Blix written report to Security Council
1 Mar: Missile destruction must start
Around 7 Mar: Inspectors oral report to Security Council
10 Mar: US-UK will force UN vote on resolution
It accuses Iraq of "failing to comply" with the terms of Resolution 1441, pointing in particular to "false statements" and "omissions" in its weapons declarations - information demanded by the UN in November.
However, in an interview to be broadcast on CBS television, Saddam Hussein indicated he would not submit to a UN demand to destroy al-Samoud II missiles - seen as a key test of Iraq's willingness to comply.
UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said he expected a 1 March deadline for Iraq to begin destroying the missiles "to be respected".
There is no deadline in the resolution, but UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said he expects the Security Council to have about two weeks to discuss it before a vote.
London and Washington need the support of nine countries and no veto on the Security Council for the resolution to be adopted.
For military action: US, UK, Spain and Bulgaria
Sceptics or opposed: France, Russia, China, Germany and Syria
In doubt: Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan
Nine votes and no veto required to pass a resolution
In Berlin, French President Jacques Chirac said after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that he sees nothing in the current situation that justifies a new resolution on disarming Iraq.
"We see no reason in this context to change our logic, which is a logic of peace, and to switch to a logic of war," he said.
Mr Chirac said it was up to UN weapons inspectors alone to set a deadline for Iraq to disarm.
France has indicated that it wants to see a precise timetable for President Saddam Hussein to carry out specific acts of disarmament.
Earlier, Russia said it would use "all the means it has" to resolve the Iraqi crisis peacefully.
In other developments:
Four US servicemen are killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Kuwait. The cause of the crash is not known.
- The Turkish Government approves a motion asking parliament to vote on allowing US troops to be deployed on Turkish territory.
Jordan says several hundred US troops are being deployed in the kingdom to help
operate newly-delivered US Patriot anti-missile systems.
- Vatican Foreign Minister Jean-Louis Tauran says a war with Iraq without UN backing would be "a crime against peace".
British troops are ready for military action, UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says during visit to Kuwait.
- Leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Malaysia voice opposition to war on Iraq and urge Baghdad to disarm.
- Russian envoy and former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad to seek assurances that Iraq would co-operate with inspectors.