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Analysis: Draft Resolution To Be Topic At U.N. Security Council Meeting

Morning Edition: October 25, 2002

Iraq Resolution Debated at Security Council

BOB EDWARDS, host:

UN Security Council members are to meet behind closed doors today to discuss a US draft resolution on Iraq. Permanent Council members Russia and France still oppose language they fear will trigger a US war in Iraq. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports US diplomats want to have a vote on the resolution next week.

MICHELE KELEMEN reporting:

Frustrated by the continued opposition to the draft, the United States is taking somewhat of a gamble. The Bush administration, which had been conferring just with permanent members now is circulating its resolution among all 15 UN Security Council members. The hope is that if enough countries support the US, permanent members France and Russia will feel the pressure to go along, to abstain rather than use their veto power to block a resolution. President Bush, during a political rally in South Carolina yesterday, again challenged the United Nations to hold Saddam Hussein to account.

SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL RALLY

President GEORGE W. BUSH: If the United Nations won't deal with him, if he refuses to hear the call for peace, the United States will lead a coalition to disarm Saddam Hussein.

SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE; CHEERING

KELEMEN: But diplomats say President Bush will need a UN resolution if he is to have international support. In order to overcome opposition from permanent Security Council members, Washington has already backed off from some of the tough language in its initial draft, but the resolution still accuses Iraq of being in, quote, "material breech" of its obligations and warns of serious consequences if it does not cooperate with weapons inspectors. Some analysts describe those phrases as codes for war. The resolution also gives weapons inspectors a stronger hand, access to presidential sites and the right to declare no-fly and no-drive zones around inspection sites. The chief UN weapons inspector is to speak with the Security Council members Monday. Hans Blix has said his team would go to Iraq only after the Council spells out his mandate. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Washington.

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