INTERNATIONAL

U.S. offers to revise resolution on Iraq

Washington Sept. 6. Faced with intense opposition from Europe and sceptical non-permanent members in the United Nations Security Council, the Bush administration is offering to revise its draft resolution that is aimed to get more nations into the so-called stabilisation of Iraq.

All 15 members of the Council met informally in New York and the predominant view is that a quick movement on the new resolution can come about if only the United States agreed to move faster to restore Iraqi sovereignty and to give the world body a greater role in the rebuilding and reconstruction of Iraq. The U.S. has said that the Friday meeting was a "good discussion".

Washington is now saying that its proposal was only a "working draft" with the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, offering to "adjust and adapt" in a way that meets with the demands of Europe and others. But Gen Powell took a swipe at America's allies, notably France and Germany, by saying, "If you would like to see something different, then make a proposal in addition to an editorial comment".

The expectation is that France will be making an alternative proposal taking into account the views of others in the Security Council including Germany and Russia. Paris has said that it intends to "absolutely" cooperate with the U.S. with a view to reaching a consensus on the issue.

The U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has suggested a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Permanent Five somewhere in Europe with a view to exploring a common ground.

There is still no formal word from the Bush administration on whether it accepts this idea. In the past the administration has been wary of such high profile meetings on grounds that this leads to theatrics and rhetoric meant for audiences back home.

Under the American proposal, the coalition force now in occupation of Iraq will give way to a Multinational Force authorised by the U.N.; but it will be under an American General.

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