UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Despite some reservations, the United States and Britain crafted a resolution Wednesday to back the U.N. deal to open suspected weapons sites in Iraq — with the consequences of Iraqi violation clearly spelled out.
Any explicit threat of force, however, was unlikely to be supported by the other three permanent Security Council members, Russia, France and China, which had resisted a threatened British-American military strike before the agreement was reached.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Bill Richardson, said American diplomats were working with Britain on the proposal.
U.N. chief Kofe Annan negotiated the deal over the weekend with Saddam. It would open eight presidential sites that Baghdad had declared off-limits to U.N. inspectors, provided the inspectors were accompanied by a team of diplomats chosen by Annan.
The inspectors must certify that Iraq has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction before U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait can be lifted.
The United States ruled out any swift easing of the sanctions. Such a move is “a long way off,” State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Wednesday.
While giving their general approval of the accord, Britain and the United States wanted to spell out that the inspectors from the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, would remain in charge of the visits. They also asked Annan for further information about how the diplomatic visits would be carried out and who would be on the team.
However, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, said any overt threat of force would be discouraging to the goal of peace.
The language of the proposal, Lavrov said, “must be aimed at making this happen, not making any threat which at this particular stage is not appropriate.”
France wouldn’t accept any resolution that went beyond a warning of consequences, a French diplomat said on condition he not be identified.
And China’s U.N. ambassador, Qin Huasun, said he believed a resolution wasn’t necessary and the agreement was enough.