- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 23, 2003

DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 23 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Syria Sunday to vote for a second U.N. resolution on Iraq.

The resolution, likely to be presented before the Security Council early next week, seeks the world body's support for the U.S. position on Iraq.

Powell spoke with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa by telephone and told him Washington's patience with Iraq was running out, Syrian officials said.

Iraq, he said, was still refusing to destroy weapons of mass destruction despite a clear warning from the international community that it would not allow Baghdad to keep those weapons.

Powell said Washington was to present another draft resolution on Iraq at the Security Council and hoped that Syria will vote in its favor, the official Syrian News Agency reported.

Sharaa, whose country is a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the current session, told Powell that "all peaceful means have not yet been exhausted," the report said.

Sharaa said U.N. weapons inspectors were looking for the weapons in Iraq without any hindrance from the Iraqi authorities.

The Syrian official re-emphasized the need to remove Iraq's weapons of mass destruction by peaceful means and said Arabs and most of the international community had rejected using war as a means to disarm Iraq, the report said.

The Syrian foreign minister said Security Council Res. 1441, which calls for disarming Iraq, does not define a specific time frame for the inspectors to complete their mission in Iraq.

Sharaa said Syria saw no "justification" for adopting a new resolution that would only "be used by war mongers inside and outside the U.S. as a pretext to strike Iraq."

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