- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2002

The United States and Britain have agreed on the outlines of a tough new U.N. resolution on Iraq, and a senior U.S. official has been dispatched to Russia and France in a bid to sell the proposal, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told a Senate hearing yesterday.

Mr. Powell, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the United States was insisting there be "hard consequences" if Iraq continued to defy U.N. mandates to disarm.

He also rejected suggestions that a new resolution was not needed after Iraq's offer last week to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country.

"We believe no resolution is a recipe for failure," Mr. Powell said.

But Marc Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, may face some close questioning over the wording of the proposed resolution when he arrives in Paris today before flying on to Moscow.

Intense negotiations this week at the United Nations have failed to produce a draft acceptable to the five permanent members of the Security Council, with France, Russia and China skeptical of the U.S. insistence on a new resolution and on how tough the wording should be.

Said Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow yesterday: "We favor a rapid solution on Iraq on the basis of existing U.N. Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the principles and norms of international law."

In Iraq, U.S. jets policing the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone in the south destroyed a radar system at an airport in Basra, home to Iraq's largest oil-exporting port. Pentagon officials denied Iraqi charges that the Basra radar site was used only for civilian air traffic.

Mr. Powell said he had spoken with all four of his counterparts from the permanent Security Council nations in the past two days, as well as with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in an effort to nail down the language for the resolution.

Mr. Grossman returns from Moscow Sunday, State Department officials said, pushing any agreement at the United Nations on a resolution into next week at the earliest.

In the Senate hearing, several lawmakers expressed skepticism over what they said were the broad powers sought by President Bush in a separate congressional resolution that would authorize U.S. military action against Saddam.

"I, for one, would like to see a resolution that makes clear we are not authorizing pre-emptive action" as a new doctrine of U.S. foreign policy, said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat. "To change our policy so blithely could set a very dangerous precedent."

Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright told the Senate panel she supported a tough line against Iraq, but said U.S. military action, particularly without international support, could have huge "unintended consequences" for the war on terrorism, the stability of postwar Iraq and the U.S. role in the Middle East.

Another former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, told the committee he believed the problems associated with U.S. action against Iraq were outweighed by the threat Saddam's weapons of mass destruction posed to the United States and to the global war on terrorism.

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