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US Will Not Accept Major Change To Iraq Resolution

U.S. Continues Push for New Iraq Resolution

Negroponte says U.S. will not accept major changes to draft

By Judy Aita
Washington File Staff Writer

United Nations -- The United States will press ahead with efforts to win Security Council approval of its proposed resolution authorizing a multinational force and increasing the role of the United Nations in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said October 7.

Discussing the future of the U.S. draft at a press conference, Negroponte ruled out any major changes in the text.

"It is certainly still our intent at the moment to press ahead with this resolution. The preferred position at the moment would be to try to get a resolution completed and voted and approved as quickly as possible," the ambassador said.

"We're sensitive to the reactions of the various delegations and we're going to try to develop our best possible assessment of what kind of support any resolution we put down would enjoy," he said.

The United States had hoped to have the resolution adopted before an Iraq donors meeting in Madrid October 24. However, the ambassador said he told the council members that "if in the coming days we put forward a resolution with the idea of bringing it to an early vote that they shouldn't expect any significant or radical departures from the resolution they have before them. I stand by that statement."

"We think it is a good resolution. We think it takes into account many comments made by delegations beforehand," said Negroponte, the chief U.S. envoy to the United Nations.

The United States presented a revised draft of its resolution to the Security Council on October 2, and the council then held a three-hour closed-door meeting to discuss the details of the resolution October 6. When he emerged from the session, Negroponte characterized it as "very thorough but inconclusive" and said that the other 14 members of the council were going to take a "brief pause" to evaluate their position on the draft.

The ambassador did not give any indication of when, or with what changes, the United States would present the draft resolution in "blue" -- the so-called final form of the draft on which the council would then be expected to vote within 24 hours.

Diplomats representing other council members said after the meeting that as the draft stands it could win approval but not with the unanimous or overwhelming majority vote that the United States would like to have as an indication of the international community's support for Iraq.

In order to pass, the draft needs nine positive votes with no vetoes from any of the five permanent members of the council.

The United States initially circulated a draft resolution in August that would include, among other things, an expanded role for the United Nations and the start of the process toward Iraqi self-government. The draft was the subject of intense negotiations during the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in September, when President Bush, other heads of state and foreign ministers were in New York. The October 2 draft is a result of those talks.

U.S. officials have emphasized that the proposed resolution clarifies the issue of transferring full authority to the Iraqis and gives an expanded role to the United Nations, as Secretary General Kofi Annan himself suggested in a July report.

Negroponte said, as he has several times in the past weeks, that the United States "envisages a strengthened vital role for the United Nations," but he acknowledged that in light of the bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 22 including U.N. special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, "the ability of the U.N. at this particular moment to contribute to that part of the process is definitely restricted."

"But we think, as conditions permit, the United Nations definitely should have the opportunity to play the vital role we wish to see," he said.

The U.S. draft also provides for the multinational force to be under a U.N. authorized unified command, but it would not be a U.N.-directed "blue helmet" operation. The United States would command the force and report periodically to the Security Council.

Security Council authorization of the multinational force, Negroponte said, "would be an additional positive factor that might encourage some countries to further consider the contribution of troops."

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