US, Britain Seek UN Mandate For War

United Nations, February 25: | Updated: Feb 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
Declaring that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has missed a final opportunity to disarm peacefully, the US, Britain and Spain submitted a second resolution seeking UN endorsement of military action against Baghdad on Monday, setting off stiff opposition from European allies which want more time for UN weapons inspectors.

British ambassador to the UN Jeremy Greenstock submitted the resolution on behalf of the three nations but the document does not mention any deadline. American and British diplomats made it clear that diplomacy has a very short window and hinted that they can press for a vote on March 7 when UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix is to present the report.

France, Russia and Germany described the resolution as premature and circulated a memorandum advocating the strengthening of the inspection regime, giving more time to inspectors and exhausting all options under the Council resolution before considering the use of force.

China did not sponsor the paper but supported it.

The sponsors of the resolution decided to send both the one-page resolution with one operational paragraph and the memorandum to the capitals and meet again on Thursday for substantive discussions after receiving instructions from their governments.

PTI