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Powell seeks support from Security Council

©Associated Press
February 22, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Colin Powell reached out for support Friday from the foreign ministers of four U.N. Security Council nations as American and British diplomats crafted a new resolution on disarming Iraq.

En route to Asia, Powell told reporters he spoke by telephone with the Greek foreign minister, whose country holds the European Union presidency; and with the foreign ministers of Mexico, Chile and Bulgaria, all members of the Security Council.

He said he talked to each about a second U.N. resolution, which he expects will say in a "straightforward and direct" manner that Iraq is not in compliance with the resolution passed unanimously last year. Powell said he expects the resolution to specify that "other actions" should be considered.

President Bush, on a three-day weekend at his Texas ranch, will call the leaders of all nations on the council "to urge them to meet the test and to fulfill the mandates of the United Nations so that Iraq, indeed, disarms," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

Also, Undersecretary of State John Bolton will go to Moscow early next week for talks designed to persuade Russian officials to support the U.S.-British resolution.

In an interview with Russia's RTR Television, Powell said war could be avoided should Iraqi President Saddam Hussein leave the country.

"If he complies, or if he leaves the country tomorrow, there will be no war," Powell said.

The United States and Britain plan to offer the new resolution Monday. The goal is to achieve a minimum nine votes on the Security Council, while avoiding a veto by France, Russia or China. All three of those permanent members are opposed to war and prefer to extend the weapons searches.

In an effort to win adoption, the new resolution apparently will set no deadline for Iraq to disarm. Powell told German TV N24 on Thursday that he would not expect the resolution to have a timeline, "but time is running out."

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