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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
France and Germany reject US Iraq plans
Gerhard Schroeder and Jacques Chirac
The French and German leaders said US concessions were inadequate
French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have said a US draft resolution seeking greater international help in Iraq does not go far enough.

Speaking after talks in Germany, Mr Chirac said the US proposals "seem quite far from what appears to us the primary objective, namely the transfer of political responsibility to an Iraqi government as soon as possible".

In the draft text published on Thursday, the US says the UN should play a role in preparing for a new Iraqi government but it does not cede any political or military control.

It came as US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called for 10,000 more foreign troops to be deployed in Iraq as part of a multinational force called for in the draft resolution.

Reaffirms 'vital role' of UN
Calls for democratic elections
Seeks multinational force

Mr Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit on Thursday for talks with US commanders and civilian leaders there.

Britain has also ordered a review of its troop numbers in Iraq.

The US draft resolution says the UN should play a "vital role" in Iraq and its special representative should co-operate with the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council in preparing for elections.

Plan 'inadequate'

Washington hopes the proposal will entice member states to contribute troops to the multinational force.

Thai soldier says goodbye to his daughter before leaving for Iraq
Send in troops but the US and UK should bear the sole cost of the enterprise
Vish, UK

But, speaking in Dresden, the French and German leaders said the concessions were inadequate.

Mr Schroeder said the draft resolution was "not dynamic enough, not sufficient".

Germany and France - which can veto resolutions at the UN Security Council - played a leading role in opposing US plans to go to war with Iraq before the conflict began in March.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell defended the resolution, saying it was drafted "in a way that deals with the concerns that leaders such as President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder have raised in the past and if they have suggestions, we would be more than happy to listen to their suggestion".

The BBC's David Bamford at the UN says in particular, France and Germany believe the UN should take over responsibility for the political process, rather than simply adopting a facilitating role.

The draft resolution, he says, does not specifically state that it will be the United States that commands the multinational force, but that was implicit in comments on Wednesday by Mr Powell, who said the US will continue to play the dominant role in Iraq.

Multinational force

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called for an extra 5,000 UK soldiers, warning of a "strategic failure" otherwise.

Russia has also announced that it "does not rule out" sending peacekeepers to Iraq if an appropriate UN Security Council resolution is passed.

There is no force or threat out there that can't be handled
Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez
US commander in Iraq

Speaking to reporters on his way to Baghdad, Mr Rumsfeld said it was critical to get more local forces to bolster the 50,000 Iraqi personnel already in place.

Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the US commander on the ground in Iraq, said on Thursday that he currently had adequate troops.

"There is no force or threat out there that can't be handled," he told reporters in Baghdad.

However, he added, more soldiers could be needed to meet future challenges such as border security, or dealing with internal conflict or an increased threat from foreign militants

Overnight, American troops fought battles with militants in Tikrit and Falluja, two former strongholds of the ousted regime, but there are no reports of casualties.

The BBC's Peter Biles in Baghdad
"The Americans admit there are security challenges looming which require more international troops"

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