WASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration and its closest ally, Britain, are planning to present a new resolution to the U.N. Security Council Monday in a bid for support to use force to disarm Iraq.
Finishing touches were being put on the resolution yesterday. Adoption is by no means assured. A majority of the 15 council members are opposed to war at least until chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix reports on March 1.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said a headcount was “academic” because the resolution demanding Iraqi disarmament had not been put forward.
Powell, who is due to fly to Japan today for the start of a five-day Asia trip, juggled resolution diplomacy with stressful negotiations with Turkey, a potential key ally in any war.
Turkey is balking at U.S. terms for an economic aid package. Powell, who interceded on Wednesday with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, said he had told the Turkish leader “our position was firm with respect to the kind of assistance we could provide.”
However, Powell said, “there may be some other creative things we can do.”
As for the expected U.N. resolution, the Bush administration sees little value in extending inspections and much to worry about in Iraq’s connection to al-Qaida and other terror groups.
One U.S. official said the projected day for presenting the resolution was Monday but that it could slip a day or two.
Powell said: “We won’t put a resolution down unless we intend to fight for the resolution, unless we believe we can make the case that it is appropriate.”
Meanwhile, Iraq allowed another flight by an American U-2 surveillance plane yesterday as President Saddam Hussein’s government sought to convince the world that it is cooperating with the weapons inspectors.