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[casi] US-British Strategy on Iraq close to collapse

It looks less and less likely that the US will get its way regarding Iraq at
the UN which means it will go to war with an extra-UN "coalition". The
increasing gap between the US and Mexico is a very interesting development.
If the US would get rid of the "material breach" phrase, it would almost
certainly get a resolution, but since it won't drop the demand to keep the
phrase in its resolution, it seems pretty obvious that the phrase is a veiled
way of allowing for military force, something that Bush would be all to happy
to engage in.

World News

October 28, 2002
US-British strategy on Iraq close to collapse
>From James Bone in New York and Chris Ayres in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

THE six-week effort by Britain and the United States to secure a tough United
Nations resolution on Iraq is in danger of collapse because of continued
opposition to their threats of military action.

With US officials pushing for a decision by the end of the week, the two
powers are struggling to enlist the nine votes needed to push their strongly
worded draft resolution through the 15-nation UN Security Council.

Both France and Russia have circulated rival proposals omitting “trigger
language” for the use of force. Seeing strength in numbers, Paris and Moscow
hope to draw away enough votes from the US-British draft that they will not
have to confront the world’s sole superpower directly by exercising their

Britain and the United States have formally tabled their text in the Security
Council to ensure that it comes to a vote first, but France threatened at the
weekend to submit its draft for a vote as well if it did not win further
concessions. “We are going to try to work with the Americans on the basis of
the text they have proposed,” Dominique de Villepin, the French Foreign
Minister, said on Saturday. “If we don’t manage that, then we will obviously
officially propose our own text.”

Diplomats say that Britain and the United States can count on the support
only of Bulgaria, Colombia, Norway and Singapore for its latest proposal.
Russia, China, France and Syria do not support the present US-British text.
The swing votes are Cameroon, Ireland, Guinea, Mauritius and Mexico.

President Bush, attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec)
summit in Mexico, apparently failed to convince President Fox of Mexico to
use his UN vote to back military action. After a tense meeting on Saturday,
Señor Fox said: “What we need to accomplish is a resolution that is
satisfactory to all the parties there in the United Nations. We are listening
and talking and we want to search for and do everything possible for a strong

Glowering at the cameras, Mr Bush responded: “As I have said in speech after
speech after speech, if the UN won’t act, if Saddam Hussein won’t disarm, we
will lead a coalition to disarm him.”

In the meeting Mr Bush reportedly balked at Señor Fox’s invitation to make a
state visit to Mexico next year to mark the tenth anniversary of the North
American Free Trade Agreement. “Maybe we’ll be at war,” Mr Bush replied,
according to the Los Angeles Times. Señor Fox said: “If you’re at war,
you’re at war. But right now you’re not at war, so think about it.”

Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, conceded that the push for a new
resolution might fail. “I don’t want to say that we’re near a solution
because it may evade us,” he said, “but I think we have successfully
narrowed down the differences to a few key issues. And if we can resolve
these few key issues in the days ahead, then I think we might get a
resolution that would be strong.”

Diplomats say that the key point of disagreement is the so-called “trigger
language”. The US-British draft declares Iraq in “material breach” of the
1991 Gulf War ceasefire and gives warning of “serious consequences” if it
fails to live up to UN demands — both considered “hidden triggers”. France,
in its rival text, is willing to go along with a veiled warning of “serious
consequences”, but it refuses to accept a declaration of “material breach”
that could provide the legal basis for military action. Security Council memb
ers are also split over US-British proposals to toughen the UN weapons
inspectors’ mandate with new powers, such as the right to declare no-fly and
no-drive zones.

In a bid to break the deadlock, Dominique de Villepin, the French Foreign
Minister, has proposed a ministerial meeting of the Security Council to
several of his counterparts, including General Powell. He said that they had
welcomed the idea.

The Apec leaders agreed on a series of counter-terrorism measures that
focused on denying would-be attackers access to ships and aircraft and
stemming their access to funds.
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