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NEWS: Brits to Introduce Iraq Resolution

Brits to Introduce Iraq Resolution

By Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, June 22, 1999; 7:22 a.m. EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Despite opposition from some Security Council
members, Britain is preparing to introduce a resolution that would suspend
the oil embargo on Iraq if Baghdad answers the remaining questions about its
weapons programs.

Western diplomats said the measure could be introduced as early as today.

That would pave the way for the first substantial discussion on a new Iraq
policy in months, but the 15-member council remains seriously divided and
Iraq has said the British proposal is unacceptable.

The Security Council has been deadlocked on Iraq since the United States and
Britain launched air strikes in mid-December over Baghdad's refusal to
cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors.

Among the five permanent council members with veto power, only the United
States is backing the British draft, which is cosponsored by the
Netherlands. Russia and China have circulated a rival resolution, and
France, which initially backed it, has now circulated a third draft.

The five permanent members met Monday on Iraq but diplomats reported little
progress in bridging the gap.

``We're beginning to understand each other's difficulties much better ...
but some fundamental difficulties still remain,'' said Britain's U.N.
Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock.

He said no decision had been made on whether to introduce the British-Dutch

Diplomats say Britain and the United States believe a large number of the 10
non-permanent, elected council members support the proposed British-Dutch
resolution as a basis for discussion.

The most important difference between the British-Dutch draft resolution and
the rival proposals is the condition for suspending sanctions.

The British and Dutch insist on further Iraqi compliance with its
disarmament obligations before the oil embargo is suspended. The French,
Russians and Chinese would suspend all sanctions -- not just the oil
embargo -- if Iraq cooperates with a new commission that would monitor its
banned weapons programs.

Another key difference is that the British and Dutch insist that Baghdad
continue to adhere to strict financial controls to ensure that revenues from
oil sales aren't spent on new weapons. The rival drafts have an alternative
plan to control oil revenues that Washington and London contend is too

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf said Sunday that the
British-Dutch proposal would merely transform Iraq into a colony. The
proposal also runs counter to a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls
for the lifting of sanctions once weapons inspectors report that Iraq has
disarmed, he said.

Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under
U.N. resolutions, sanctions cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors report
that Iraq has dismantled its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
programs and long-range missile capability.

In a related matter, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard reported ``some progress''
on efforts to send a U.N. team to Iraq to check out a laboratory abandoned
by U.N. weapons inspectors in December. But he said one substantive issue
remained, which he refused to disclose.

Chief weapons inspector Richard Butler has recommended that samples of
biological and chemical agents used to calibrate testing equipment be

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