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Powell sees 'convergence' on new UN Resolution

Powell sees 'convergence' on new Security Council resolution on Iraq

United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that he and the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have reached "some convergence" of opinions on a new resolution on Iraq, adding that the talks also covered the UN's role in the political process and how it should be reflected in a new text.

Speaking after the so-called Permanent Five's (P-5) annual luncheon with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Mr. Powell said, "I am pleased and I think my colleagues on the P-5 are pleased that we are seeing some convergence of views with respect to a new resolution.

"We'll be working on language in the days ahead that tries to capture as much of that convergence as possible, and to see what we are able to come to agreement on," he added.

"We also had a good discussion on the role of the Secretary-General and his representatives in the political process in Iraq and how it should be captured in a resolution," Mr. Powell said.

The Secretary said that he and the representatives of China, France, Russian Federation and United Kingdom had also discussed Liberia, HIV/AIDS and the Middle East.

"We believe firmly in the concept of the Road Map and it is still there," Mr. Powell said in reference to the peace plan for the Middle East that calls for a series of reciprocal and parallel steps by Israel and the Palestinians, culminating in two States living side by side in peace by 2005.

"We are waiting for the Palestinian side to determine the makeup of its new government so we have a partner we can work with," he said.

Asked by reporters about a timetable to turn over power in Iraq to an Iraqi government, Mr. Powell said: "I think we did converge on the understanding that you did need a democratic political process that rests on a constitution and elections that flow from that constitution, and that's been a subject of some debate over the last week or so, but I think we all have a common understanding."

"Remember that the resolution would invite the Governing Council to come up with a plan or a timetable," he added. "I wasn't looking for a timetable today."

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