- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2002

The United States said yesterday it will introduce a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq this week that "updates" and "revises" the initial draft, taking into account the concerns of other council members.
U.S. officials declined to specify the differences between the two texts or to call the new version a compromise, but they said it meets Washington's "core goals" and "goes a long way" in its attempt to accommodate various viewpoints.
The State Department said the Bush administration was hoping for a quick vote in New York after it formally introduces the resolution in the next few days.
"We think this effort has led to a narrowing of differences among council members," spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters. "But we also think it's time to decide, it's time to pass a resolution, it's time to get the views of the council out there, and it's time to tell Iraq that it needs to comply."
The original draft, which has been subject of intense negotiations for weeks, warns that failure by Baghdad to fully declare its weapons of mass destruction, as well as its interference in the inspections, could amount to "material breach" of the 1991 Gulf war cease-fire agreement a legal basis for war.
According to diplomats in New York, the United States has refined some language calling on U.N. inspectors to report any evidence of "material breach" or other serious violations by Iraq to the Security Council before any military action.
"We think there is general agreement that there needs to be a strong resolution," Mr. Boucher said. "We adhere to our core position that there must be clear statement of Iraq's failure to comply with its obligations, a tough inspection regime and serious consequences in the event of new Iraqi violations."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair told a news conference in London: "We are reaching the point of closure, I think. I don't want to prejudge the negotiations, but they are proceeding satisfactorily."
But a British diplomat in New York said, "No one has said yes or no yet."
The new resolution was discussed yesterday at a meeting of President Bush's national security team, which includes Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
In the past three days, Mr. Powell spoke twice by telephone with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, Mr. Boucher said.
The secretary also consulted with Jorge Castaneda, Mexico's foreign minister. Mr. Castaneda said in a radio interview yesterday that the amended U.S. draft would be backed by nearly all council members.
"This resolution is a text that reflects a large number of changes introduced by France, by Russia, by Mexico, that give diplomacy a last chance," he said.
President Saddam Hussein said yesterday he would consider cooperating with a new U.N. document as long as it was not merely a pretext for U.S. military action.
Betsy Pisik in New York contributed to this report.

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