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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
US presses home Iraq resolution
Jacques Chirac in Jordan
France is studying the US draft word by word
The United States says it expects to present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council early this week aimed at forcing Iraq to disarm.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the resolution would envisage a new tough weapons inspection regime with what he called consequences for Iraq if it did not comply.

Colin Powell
Powell hopes the US has compromised enough to satisfy France

The resolution has been held up by disagreement between the US and France, which has been leading attempts to ensure the Americans cannot automatically use force against Iraq on the basis of a single resolution.

Meanwhile, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, told the BBC he was confident Iraq would agree to allow inspectors to visit any site they choose when they return to Baghdad.

"I think the understanding that Iraq now has is that we will not leave any stones unturned," he said.

The US believes a tough new UN resolution, backed up by the threat of force, is require to make Iraq comply.

A BBC correspondent at the UN says that while the Americans have toned down some of their original language in the draft resolution, France has still not been won over.

President Jacques Chirac said on Sunday that a "very large majority" of countries shared the French position that the new resolution should not explicitly authorise an attack on Baghdad.

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

Mr Chirac, fresh from a summit of Francophone nations in Beirut, was speaking after talks with the leaders of Jordan and Syria.

France, one of the Security Council's five permanent members, has the power to veto any resolution.

'Consequences'

After waiting five weeks, Mr Powell is finally tabling the US draft proposal to enable inspectors to go back to Iraq to look for remaining weapons of mass destruction.


We reserve the right to act within international law in respect of the use of force which may or may not be covered by a new resolution

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
But the BBC's Jon Leyne in Washington says that it is not clear whether this amounts to a compromise or an attempt to confront the French.

The new draft will no longer have an explicit authorisation for the use of force if Iraq blocks weapons inspections but will refer, more ambiguously, to "consequences".

The Americans believe that is enough to claim UN authorisation for military action.

"The United States believes that it and like-minded nations... will have all the authority it needs at that point if it chooses to take action," said Mr Powell.

He made it clear that Washington firmly rejected the French demand that the Security Council must pass a further resolution before anyone could go to war.

However, the US secretary of state also conceded that there could be some tough debates on the issue ahead.

Resolution or no resolution

Of the other three members of the Security Council, the United Kingdom has made it clear it could back US military action against Iraq outside the UN in certain circumstances.

"We reserve the right to act within international law in respect of the use of force which may or may not be covered by a new resolution," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC.

UN Security Council
Washington and London may decide to bypass the UN
Russia has indicated that it might agree to the use of military force against Iraq in the event of violations provided the action was approved by the Security Council.

But Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told the BBC that the only aim of the draft UN resolution should be the speedy return of weapons inspectors.

China has also stated that the priority should be in getting UN inspectors back into Iraq to monitor its disarmament.

Iraq insists there is no need for a new UN Security Council resolution and accuses weapons inspectors of breaking existing rules before their withdrawal from Iraq in 1998.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
A senior intelligence official at the Pentagon gives
a rare interview to the BBC
The BBC's Ian Pannell in Washington
"The differences are being skirted over rather than ironed out"
IAEA director Mohamed El Baradei
"We are there to deter and detect"

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20 Oct 02 | Politics
18 Oct 02 | Middle East
20 Oct 02 | Middle East
16 Oct 02 | Europe
11 Oct 02 | Middle East
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