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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 05:13 GMT 06:13 UK
US seeks more Iraq troops
US troops examine empty shells during a raid in Tikrit
The US wants more troops in Iraq as long as they are not American
The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has acknowledged the need for more forces to improve security in Iraq, but says they should be provided by other countries or from the Iraqis themselves, not the US.

Mr Rumsfeld was speaking as he began an unannounced trip to the Gulf region, where he is expected to meet senior American commanders overseeing the US military effort in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Rumsfeld said he would like to see another 10,000 foreign troops in Iraq - and added that it was critical to get more local forces to bolster the 50,000 Iraqi personnel already in place.

His visit comes as the Bush administration is trying to get a mandate from the United Nations for an international force in Iraq.

It hopes this would secure contributions from countries such as India and Pakistan, who have been unwilling to join the present US-led coalition.

Mr Rumsfeld said he accepted that nations which provided help should be allowed to have a say in Iraq's future.

Burden sharing

The US is also hoping to get more countries to share the burden of reconstruction, observers say.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says the US will stress the role of the Iraqi institution it has set up in the UN draft resolution.

To the extent countries step up with troops and support and money, they have a seat at the table. They have the opportunity to work with us and the Iraqis
US Defence Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld
The White House hopes that the Iraqi Governing Council will be fully endorsed by the UN, our correspondent says.

The council might then issue requests for troops and money - which Islamic nations in particular could respond to while distancing themselves from America and the original decision to go to war.

Under the resolution, US commanders would remain in charge of peacekeeping operations in Iraq, but there, too, "We are asking the international community to join us even more than they have in the past," US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.

The resolution may be ready for submission to the Security Council next week, he said.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Peter Biles
"America and Britain are ready to provide significant numbers of additional troops"



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