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US backtracks on use of force

United Nations, Oct. 19 (Reuters): The United States has offered a compromise UN resolution that drops explicit authorization to use force against Iraq but still provides some international legal cover to attack Baghdad, according to excerpts from the US draft.

Although US officials stressed again yesterday they could strike Iraq at any time in self-defence and without UN approval, even close ally Britain would have second thoughts about joining a military action without some kind of new United Nations Security Council resolution.

Almost every nation in the world expressed apprehension about a war in West Asia in speeches before UN Security Council members on Wednesday and Thursday.

Bowing to worldwide criticism, the Bush administration deleted from its revised text a key provision that automatically authorised a UN member, like the United States, to use “all necessary means” whenever it decided Iraq had violated UN disarmament demands.

Instead, the new US proposals would call on UN inspectors, searching for Iraqi weapons, to report to the Security Council any violations by Baghdad, which could delay any military strike Washington has in mind.

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