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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK
Diplomatic mountains ahead over Iraq
Hornets in Arabian Gulf
US forces on exercise in the Arabian Gulf

UN Security Council diplomats are poised for what could be long and difficult negotiations next week over the text and content of a new resolution designed to finally force Iraq to declare and disarm all of its weapons of mass destruction.

US Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman
Hard talks ahead for US envoy, Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman
The ground work for one of the most important new resolutions in recent years has already started, with US and British officials shuttling to and from Beijing, Paris, and Moscow, the capitals of three significant veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council.

Washington knows it has the support of London for a tough new resolution against Iraq, but on its own, that is not enough,.

The signs are that unless there is a significant change in position by France, Russia, and China, as well as a shift among the 10 non-permanent Council members, the US will struggle to muscle this text through.

"Elsewhere in the world, there's a worry that war fever has taken hold in Washington, that the adrenalin is pumping, and that the Americans are not thinking very rationally anymore," says David Malone, President of the International Peace Academy.

"There's a sense that they may be under-estimating the military risks of acting alone.

Hussein poster
Saddam Hussein oversees passers-by in Baghdad
"People wonder whether they've considered the expense of the operations, and everybody's noted that Washington has not articulated a vision for Iraq after military action, and this is deeply worrying."

The shuttle diplomacy between the capital cities of the permanent five members of the Security Council is part of the strategy to shore-up support for the new resolution on the Council.

Nobody is anticipating an easy ride once the draft resolution starts circulating at UN headquarters.

"There's no way this resolution is going to get a soft-landing at the Council," said one western diplomat who preferred to remain anonymous, " It's going to be hard, whatever happens."


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26 Sep 02 | Americas
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