- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2002

NEW YORK The 10 elected Security Council members have been sidelined in the recent debate over Iraq, to the relief of some delegations and the outrage of others.
Instead, the council's five permanent members, each with veto power, have taken the Iraq discussion behind closed doors.
The result, say many of the elected members, is a two-tier system that sidelines the Arab, African and Asian regions.
"There is certainly frustration, especially at the ambassador level," said an envoy from one of the elected 10.
"The biggest awkwardness is that [the 10] countries are accountable to their regional voting blocs. To say, 'Well, we don't know what's going on' well, no one wants to say that."
Tempers flared last week when the ambassadors of the 10 Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway, Singapore, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Syria read in newspapers leaked versions of the preliminary U.S. draft resolution before it had been presented to them.
The permanent five members the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia responded by clamping down even tighter, diplomats said.
For example, the permanent five members refused to provide their colleagues with informal summaries of their meeting with chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.
A council resolution requires nine votes to pass, and no veto from a permanent member.
In theory, the 10 could rebel and vote as a bloc against a resolution.
One longtime U.N. ambassador said he has always fancied the idea, in principle, but couldn't imagine an expendable resolution.
The Iraq resolution is a high-stakes effort to disarm Iraq and avert a U.S.-led war.
The resolution is still a work in progress, say council diplomats. They say they don't expect to see an official draft until the end of this week, or possibly into next.
Iraqi leaders have been reluctant to offer weapons inspectors carte blanche.
"My government's position is that the terms of inspections existing already are very, very tough so there is no need to strengthen these terms of inspections, of work," Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, told the Associated Press.
Under the inspection procedures now in place, eight of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces are off limits for surprise inspections.
There is a favorite saying around the United Nations: "When the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled."
Several elected members of the council have said that until the five elephants can reconcile their national interests and objections into a clear resolution, they'd just as soon not be involved.
"Of course, my government wants to see this go a certain way," said the envoy of one elected council member, "but our view is much like France's, and we will have to trust them to express that."
The United States wants a single resolution that would threaten Iraq with force unless it cooperates fully with weapons inspectors, who are due to return shortly to Iraq after being kicked out 1998.
France wants two resolutions, one demanding cooperation with weapons inspectors, followed by a second measure authorizing force if Iraq fails to comply with the first resolution.


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