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"destructive ambiguity"

According to this Reuter's report

A) France is waiting "until a meeting of the Group of 8 industrial nations
in  Berlin on Friday in hopes of getting a positive response from Russia.

B) "Russia's deputy U.N. envoy, Gennady Gatilov, told reporters before the
delay was announced that his country planned to abstain on the


Tuesday December 14 5:09 PM ET 

 France Gets Delay in Vote on Key Iraq Resolution
 By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - France delayed a scheduled Security Council
vote on a crucial resolution on future policy toward Iraq, saying it
needed more time to consider its position, diplomats reported on Tuesday.

France, along with Russia and China, had been expected to abstain on the
resolution if it came to a vote in the 15-member Security Council on
Tuesday as scheduled.

The resolution, under contentious debate for months, calls for U.N. arms
inspectors to return to Iraq. It would suspend stringent trade sanctions
if Baghdad cooperates with them.

 ``I have reported to the council that at the request of one council
member for more time ...the scheduling of the formal vote on Iraq has been postponed,'' said
British ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, this month's council president.

 He set no new date for the vote.

 ``We don't want to close a window if there is the slightest possibility
of maximum consensus,'' Greenstock said, adding that ''if people need time to
prepare their positions for that, that will be welcome, if that is the

 Diplomats said France, through its foreign ministry in Paris, had asked
British officials in London to ``stop the clock'' on the vote that Greenstock had scheduled.

 French envoys said they wanted to wait until a meeting of the Group of 8
industrial nations in Berlin on Friday in hopes of getting a positive
response from Russia.

 Attending will be the foreign ministers of the United States, France,
Britain and Russia, who, along with China comprise the five permanent Security Council members.

 U.N. weapons inspectors have not been in Iraq since a year ago this week,
when the United States and Britain launched bombing raids against Baghdad for its alleged
failure to cooperate with the U.N. arms commission.

 The sanctions were imposed on Iraq after President Saddam Hussein invaded
Kuwait in August 1990, leading to the 1991 Gulf War. After the war, any lifting of
the sanctions was linked to the scrapping of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

 France's U.N. ambassador, Alain Dejammet, said earlier that Paris wanted
more ``clarity'' on the so-called ``trigger mechanism'' that sets criteria for the
sanctions suspension.

 Language was changed late on Monday but still left vague to paper over
differences among the five permanent council members. ``We don't mind constructive
ambiguity but this is destructive ambiguity,'' one French envoy said.

 The latest changes say Iraq, during a 120-day test period, must
``cooperate in all respects'' with a new arms commission in fulfilling key tasks relating to its
weapons of mass destruction. Previously, the wording said Iraq had to
''cooperate fully.''

 However, the resolution requires the council to vote on whether Iraq has
fulfilled disarmament demands, thereby permitting each country to make
its own decision on whether or not Baghdad has complied with the

 Russia's deputy U.N. envoy, Gennady Gatilov, told reporters before the
delay was announced that his country planned to abstain on the resolution. He said
too many details were left vague, including precisely which sanctions would be suspended
and what financial controls would remain. These would be discussed only after the resolution
had been adopted.

 Once finally approved, the resolution would be a milestone in a new
process of Iraqi disarmament after months of contentious debate among key Security Council

 It would start a complicated new phase of weapons inspections and
humanitarian programs, with each step expected to be the subject of intensive debate.

 The resolution would create a new arms agency, called the U.N.
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, or UNMOVIC, to replace the U.N. Special
Commission (UNSCOM), which had been responsible for destroying Baghdad's biological,
chemical and ballistic missiles.

 The measure would immediately lift a cap on how much oil Iraq could sell
under the U.N.
 ``oil-for-food'' humanitarian program, now set at $5.26 billion every six

 It would also streamline the system for authorizing goods that Iraq is
allowed to purchase with its oil revenues and allow many of them to be
approved without scrutiny by the council's sanctions panel.

 After a study of Iraq's oil fields, the resolution would allow Baghdad to
purchase spare parts and equipment to upgrade its dilapidated oil

 If Iraq complies with arms demands, foreign companies would also be
allowed to invest in  its oil fields.

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