US agrees to modify Iraq resolution

The United States has agreed to amend once again the latest draft resolution on Iraq after UN Security Council members discussed the 12-page text and suggested dozens of changes.

    Negroponte: Co-sponsors are
    willing to consider some changes

    The US now hopes to put the resolution to a vote in the Security Council on Thursday, said US Ambassador John Negroponte.


    The new draft, which was introduced on Monday, is proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by Britain and Spain.


    The two previous drafts failed to please Russia, France and China, permanent members of the UN council holding veto powers.


    They are seeking a greater role for the UN to prevent total domination of Iraq’s oil revenues by the occupying powers, the US and Britain.


    One of the main sticking points is the absence of any deadline for the establishment of an Iraqi government, diplomats said. France wanted the resolution to lapse after a year so that the Security Council could renew it.


    But Negroponte said Washington would not agree to a one-year deadline that is subject to Security Council renewal.


    “This is probably the one real remaining point of difference and I’m not sure that it’s a resolvable one”, said a Security Council diplomat, who requested anonymity. “We’ll see how swallowable it is”.


    Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov raised three issues that, he said, needed to be clarified before his government could approve the new draft.


    “We think the role of the Security Council in overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq should be clear,” Lavrov said.


    Russia, he said, also wanted clear criteria on when some of the measures which are proposed in the draft as temporary would end.


    Lavrov wants clarity

    Russia has demanded that UN arms inspectors confirm that Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction before lifting the sanctions.


    Russia gave its suggestions along with the other 14 Security Council members during a four-hour closed-door debate.


    “Our hopes are quite high that there will be a large number of votes for this resolution”, Greenstock said.


    In Washington, US Secretary of State Colin Powell sought to garner support for the draft in phone calls to other foreign ministers and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.


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