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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
US meets more resistance on Iraq
Iraqi guards outside the UN headquarters in Baghdad
Russia wants the UN back in Baghdad soon
Opposition to the US line on Iraq is hardening at the United Nations, with Russia and France rejecting a tough new draft resolution on weapons inspections.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Friday UN weapons inspectors had to go back to Iraq "as soon as possible".


(It is) necessary to ensure the quickest possible deployment of the Unmovic inspection mission

President Vladimir Putin

A spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry later said there was "no legal precondition for a new resolution" on weapons inspections in Iraq.

And Turkey, a key US military ally bordering on Iraq, said any US attack on Iraq must have international backing.

Alleged Iraqi deception

But Washington intensified the pressure on Iraq on Friday, charging that Baghdad had moved to conceal projects to develop weapons of mass destruction since agreeing to a resumption of UN inspections.

Open in new window : Who backs war?
Where key nations stand on Iraq

In Moscow, President Putin said it was "necessary to ensure the quickest possible deployment of the Unmovic inspection mission in the country [Iraq]".

"There is an urgent need to guarantee the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq through a full compliance with the corresponding UN Security Council resolutions," he said.


We are not intent on blocking, our aim is unity and bringing positions together

Francois Rivasseau
French Foreign Ministry spokesman

The United States and Britain do not want inspectors on the ground in Iraq until a new UN mandate has been agreed.

They want the Security Council to pass a new draft resolution demanding that Iraq allows weapons inspectors anywhere on its territory and carrying a clear threat of military action if Baghdad fails to comply.

Inspections on hold

The UN chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has already indicated he will not start work in Iraq until the diplomatic wrangling is resolved.


UN security council
US draft resolution for UN
  • A UN member state can use "all necessary means" should Baghdad not co-operate with inspectors
  • Any permanent member of the Security Council can join an inspection mission and recommend sites to be inspected
  • Inspectors can declare no-fly and no-drive exclusion zones anywhere in Iraq
  • Access to all sites including presidential palaces
  • Russia and France - both permanent members of the Security Council - could block President George W Bush's proposed resolution. China, the fifth permanent member, also opposes the US-UK line on Iraq.

    But a senior US official quoted by Reuters news agency on Friday said Washington was working with Britain and France to reach a compromise on Iraq.

    "We still want one resolution but we're exploring with the British and the French ways of bridging the difference between the resolution that we want and the two the French want," the official said.

    France wants two resolutions - one defining the inspectors' mission and a second, if needed, detailing the action to be taken if Iraq fails to comply.

    The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says the White House is not keen to compromise at the UN, but the State Department, which has to do the arm-twisting, seems to think the French two-step proposal would be acceptable.

    Blix meetings

    Mr Blix was meeting US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on Friday to discuss the latest Iraq developments.

    US Defense Department spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said "yes" when asked by reporters on Friday if Baghdad had recently moved to conceal weapons programmes. She declined to elaborate further.

    President Bush is to deliver a televised speech on Iraq on Monday.

    Meanwhile, bombing in Iraq's no-fly zones has continued, with a strike on an air defence command centre on Thursday in retaliation for an attempt by the Iraqi military to shoot down US and UK planes dropping leaflets warning Iraqi gunners not to fire on planes patrolling the zones.

     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's David Shukman
    "For some the war has started already"
    The BBC's Matt Frei reports Washington
    "Although Bush does have a lot of support in the opinion polls, they have been dipping slightly"
    Andrei Kortunov, Russian foreign affairs specialist
    "Russia is much closer to the French position on the [resolution] issue"

    Key stories

    Analysis

    CLICKABLE GUIDE

    BBC WORLD SERVICE

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     VOTE RESULTS
    Should the weapons inspectors go into Iraq now?

    Yes
     79.51% 

    No
     20.49% 

    61425 Votes Cast

    Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

    See also:

    04 Oct 02 | Middle East
    03 Oct 02 | Middle East
    03 Oct 02 | Middle East
    02 Oct 02 | Europe
    03 Oct 02 | Middle East
    02 Oct 02 | Americas
    16 Jul 02 | Middle East
    02 Oct 02 | Middle East
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