- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

UNITED NATIONS, March 3 (UPI) — The elected 10 members of the U.N. Security Council invited Ambassador Paul Heinbecker of Canada to discuss Ottawa's ideas on the Iraq deadlock and he came away from the session Monday night saying the divisions among the permanent five veto-wielding members were reflected among his hosts.

However, Heinbecker said he did not hear anybody say a negative word about the proposal secretly put forward last week.

"At the same time, they recognize that it is a very difficult situation that they are dealing with and the divisions that one sees in the council among the P5 are also reflected in the elected members who have a certain number of people who have committed to one side and a certain number of people who are committed to another side," he told reporters outside the Mexico Mission to the United Nations, where the E-10 held their session.

Heinbecker's proposal, details of which were leaked last week, called for the 15-member council to authorize war against Iraq on March 31 if U.N. weapons inspectors still faced resistance from Baghdad.

It set out a timeline for beyond that date if the inspectors were to report by March 28 "substantial Iraqi compliance." It called for briefings, beginning, as delivered on schedule last Friday, by Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and again every Friday until the last one in the month, the 28th.

Depending on that report being negative, foreign ministers of the 15 council nations would gather then to authorize the war measure. Blix is executive Chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

If substantial progress in the inspection regime is reported, then "a robust ongoing verification and monitoring system including increased numbers of inspectors" would be put into place.

"They will have to decide what their national positions allow and what the council traffic will bear," said Heinbecker. "So we've done our job insofar as proposing some ideas and they are taking them on board."

Asked if he could see some kind of proposal coming out of it, he replied, "There are some people who can see that as a desirable outcome and there are others who are more cautious. So whether they will be able to unite and whether there are enough of them to unite we'll have to see that in the coming days."

He wouldn't say where any of the delegations stood.

Half a dozen of the elected are listed as undecided: Angola, Chile, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan.

The British, Bulgaria, Spain and the United States favor a tough go-to-war measure. France, Germany, and Russia co-sponsored a more easy-going approach allowing for months more of inspections. They were supported by China.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, all permanent members, each have a veto. Syria opposes the British-Spanish-U.S-measure.

The 10 elected members "are all concerned about how to bridge the gap," said Heinbecker. "They are all aware of the positions being described by the proponents of the resolution, the United States in particular and the British, and they are all aware of the fact that the French and the others — and the Russians — don't want to see a (Security Council) resolution at all."

Said Ottowa's envoy: "We've been offering ideas and I think it's been appreciated. whether or not there will be a sufficient agreement even among the elected members to take the issue forward is for them to answer."

Deputy Ambassador Cristian Maquiera of Chile, said, "We have to see what possibilities there are for an alternative formula, basically what's on the table. You've got two proposals, one, which is immediate and the other, which is more long term and none of them seem to be gathering the sufficient amount of support.

"Therefore a few decisions have to be taken at the national level as to what you obtain out of this process," he said, echoing Heinbecker. "If you want to obtain some sense of agreement as to how a whole disarmament process of Iraq goes on you would have to look at the Canadian alternative, probably in a more modified way but you would have to look at it."

He said there would be a possibility of the ideas incorporated with a later deadline.

"There's lots of possibilities that can be applied here," said the Santiago envoy. "So I think the possibility is there. We just have to find ways of how to make people be able to work with it."

But, he said there was pressure.

"We will see a report of Blix on Friday, which will include other things than he circulated on Friday," Maquiera said. "We'll have to evaluate the impact of those other things. I think I understand there is sense of time running out. This is a very serious issue. Therefore countries are acting cautiously.

Asked if a vote on a draft resolution could happen early next week, he replied, "I can understand that sense of urgency but also you have to look at our sense of caution parallel to that and we are trying to marry both things, the sense of urgency on the war and the possibility of the council working together."

Maybe a marriage of efforts along those lines producing a new draft resolution?

"I think it is premature to say that now," he said.

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