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Key UN Powers to Meet on Iraq Wednesday in London

Saturday September 11 4:47 AM ET

Key UN Powers To Meet On Iraq Wednesday In London
Full Coverage
Iraq - US Conflict

By Bernie Woodall

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The five permanent members of the U.N. Security
Council agreed Friday to hold a meeting on Iraq in London next week,
including China which had refused to attend a similar gathering in
Washington, diplomats said.

Both British and U.S. officials said the goal of the meeting, scheduled for
Wednesday, was to conclude a new Security Council policy on Iraq by the end
of September when foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding countries meet
on the edges of the U.N. General Assembly.

A Chinese spokesman, Chen Ranfeng, said Beijing had accepted the invitation
by Britain for a meeting in London of political directors concerned with
Iraqi policy.

He said the reason was that the London meeting would be a continuation of
U.N. talks on Iraq among the five -- the United States, Russia, France,
Britain and China -- rather than a ``new mechanism.'' ``And that's an
important point,'' he added without elaborating.

The United States wanted to hold a meeting among political directors in
Washington last week but China declined to attend. U.S. officials said they
backed a British-Dutch draft resolution but there is little chance China,
Russia and France would agree without major changes.

Britain will be represented by a political director, Emyr Jones-Parry, while
Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering will attend for the United States.

The 15-nation Security Council has made no headway in restoring arms control
functions in Iraq since mid-December U.S.-British bombing raids. No weapons
inspector has been allowed back in Baghdad since then.

The British-Dutch draft resolution would suspend Iraqi sanctions on exports,
such as oil, if Baghdad complied with key disarmament demands.

The sanctions, imposed in August 1990 after Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait,
are linked to weapons demands.

Britain quickly gathered co-sponsors for its draft among the 10 nonpermanent
council members. They include the Netherlands, which helped draw up the
resolution, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Gambia, Namibia and

France, in a rival draft, would suspend sanctions on Iraqi imports as well
as exports immediately after a new arms commission is set up and
functioning. In contrast the British-Dutch draft calls for several steps
over eight months to make sure Iraq has complied with key arms demands.

Nevertheless Britain has indicated it might consider easing sanctions on
imports providing arms inspections resumed and financial controls were in

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