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U.N. diplomats see chance of Iraq deal

By Wire services
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 11, 2003

UNITED NATIONS - France, Germany and Russia have put forth changes to the U.S. draft resolution seeking international help in Iraq that, though not entirely palatable to Washington, make some sort of compromise look possible, British and U.S. diplomats said Wednesday.

France and Germany, in a joint proposal, have offered to recognize an Iraqi transition government and endorse a U.S.-led multinational force if the United States hands over most of its control over the political transition to the United Nations and the interim Iraqi leaders. Russia presented separate proposals closer to U.S. and British ideas.

The amendments were given to the United States ahead of a meeting called by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to try to get the five veto-wielding permanent Security Council members to unite behind a plan to stabilize Iraq. Foreign ministers of the five - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - are expected to attend the meeting Saturday in Geneva.

Also . . .

ARTIFACTS RECOVERED: Investigators have recovered more than 3,000 antiquities taken from Iraq's collection but still don't know exactly what else might have been pillaged during the war, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

The chief investigator, Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos, said more than 1,700 items have been returned under an amnesty program. Raids recovered more than 900 artifacts, and more than 750 were recovered from four foreign countries that he refused to name.

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