Monday, Feb 17, 2003
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By Sridhar Krishnaswami
The big question now is if the new resolution will warn of "dangerous consequences'' in the event of non-compliance by the regime in Baghdad.
The new draft resolution, whose language is still being worked on, is expected toward the end of the week.
Originally, the idea of the two permanent members was to quickly introduce a resolution after the meeting of February 14 one that would have cited Iraq to be in "material breach'' and calling for "serious consequences''. Taken together, this would have meant an authorisation for the use of force. Much of the diplomacy is being carried out in the world capitals as Foreign Ministers, who had come to New York for the February 14 presentation, have returned home.
There is a realisation here that the Bush administration, along with Britain, would have to show a significant change in attitude if Russia, China and France would have to agree on a text. Right now, the U.S. does not even have the nine votes required to get a resolution through this is under the assumption that Russia, China and France do not exercise the veto and abstain.
At the same time, by using pressure on some of the non-permanent members, the Bush administration could ensure that the French proposal of expanding the inspections mechanism also did not have nine votes. There are three things taking place this week that the Bush administration will be paying close attention to: Monday's meeting of the European Union; the U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan's travel in Europe, including a meeting with the President of France; and an open meeting of the Security Council here designed to provide a forum for non-members to express their views.
The outcome of the open meeting of the Council on Tuesday to hear non-members' views seems to be a foregone conclusion: Washington and London will be taken to task for their current attitude and stance on Iraq.
The Bush administration, and its key ally, will suffer more embarrassment than what they did last Friday.
The bottom line to the Republican administration in Washington is whether it is willing to "wait'' for a second resolution for all the "wait'' the resolution will be far short of what Washington originally expected or wanted.
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