Annan unable to come to compromise on Iraq; U.S. stands firm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Following an hour-long meeting Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the permanent members of the Security Council told him they “need a little more time to arrive at a conclusion.”
He said he would meet the envoys again today and then address the full council on Wednesday.
Diplomatic sources said Annan was looking for a sign from Washington on Monday that it is ready for him to negotiate an agreement with the Iraqis.
Emerging from the meeting, however, U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson held firm to the American position that Iraq must grant the U.N. weapons inspection team, known by its initials UNSCOM, full and unfettered access to all sites.
Various proposals to end the crisis have included what U.S. officials consider compromises of the commission’s integrity.
“It’s our view that any solution to this problem centers around the two core principles,” Richardson said. “First, clear unfettered access to all sites by UNSCOM inspectors and secondly the full integrity and professionalism of UNSCOM needs to be maintained.”
Asked if he would accept any reduction of the inspectors’ role, Richardson replied: “The United States is not for any deals or compromises.”