US revising UN resolution to lift sanctions from Iraq
* Powell fails to convince Moscow over UN sanctions
UNITED NATIONS: The United States, pushing for a UN vote on Iraq next week, said on Wednesday it would submit a “modified” resolution shortly in its quest to lift sanctions and control the country’s oil revenues.
Diplomats said revisions in the text would centre on the role of the United Nations in post-war Iraq as well as how the UN-run oil-for-food program would be phased out. US Ambassador John Negroponte, after council consultations, told reporters he expected to produce on Thursday “a modified text and attempt to take into account many of the comments that we have received.”
“And then we expect sometime during the course of next week — we havenn’t yet determined exactly when — we would expect to put the resolution to a vote,” Negroponte said. But other envoys said they expected numerous changes, including cosmetic ones on what several diplomats called a badly written resolution, co-sponsored by Britain and Spain, that might delay a vote past next week.
Russia’s UN ambassador Sergei Lavrov said that some of the answers to previous questions given by Negroponte in the council were most welcome but there were “quite a number” of points to be resolved before serious negotiations could start. Negroponte also said: “I assured delegations today that our resolution is not intended to address the question of Iraq’s external debt. That is an issue which, in our view, is best dealt with through other mechanisms and in other fora, particularly the Paris Club.”
Failure: In Moscow, US Secretary of State Colin Powell failed on Wednesday to win Kremlin support for proposals to end United Nations sanctions against Iraq in spite of warm words on improving relations between the two nations. One sticking point is Russia’s demand that UN inspectors return to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, whose yet-to-be-proved existence was Washington’s key justification for the invasion of Iraq, which has strained relations. “With respect to Iraq, there are some outstanding issues and we will be working these issues in a spirit of partnership and trying to come to a solution,” Powell told reporters after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that were haunted by deadly bombings in Chechnya and Saudi Arabia.
Other contentious issues are the role of the UN special representative in Iraq, control of the oil sales and revenue.
Rumsfeld: US forces will use more “muscle” to restore order in Baghdad, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday, amid mounting criticism of the troops’ failure to curb rampant lawlessness in the Iraqi capital. Rumsfeld’s pledge in congressional testimony echoed a report in The New York Times that the troops will be given the authority to shoot looters on sight. —Agencies