The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New US plan to win over allies

United Nations/Baghdad, Oct. 17 (Reuters): Faced with almost unanimous opposition to a tough UN resolution authorising military action against Iraq, the United States today prepared to circulate a new plan to win support of key Security Council members.

The United Nations opened a rare public debate on the US-backed resolution yesterday, but nation after nation lined up against the plan and warned Washington against military action before UN inspectors had a chance to determine if Iraq indeed possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Even Iraq’s neighbours, Iran and Kuwait, both of whom have been attacked by Baghdad, opposed a military strike.

In the face of strong opposition, Washington modified its proposal, adding language which will give more credence to inspectors’ reports while still authorising force, diplomats said.

The Bush administration has also shown willingness to drop provisions that would have troops open any routes that may be barred to the arms experts.

Washington intends to submit the revised draft to the other four members with veto power — Britain, France, Russia and China, diplomats said. No vote is expected until next week at the earliest.

Russia said it was working with Washington to overcome a split over the resolution laying out terms for arms inspectors to return to Iraq. But Moscow said it would not support any US draft authorising automatic use of force against Baghdad.

France expressed frustration that discussions in New York were delaying the return of inspectors to Iraq. France supports two resolutions, separating the start of inspections from the threat of war.

Ahead of a second day of UN debate, the United States also showed signs of growing impatience. “There’s a belief (in Washington) that there should be one firm resolution with clear triggering language. Patience is not going to last forever on this,” a US official said.

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