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Britain:  UN Must Not Allow Iraq Resolution to be Delayed


Britain says that within a few days the U.N. Security Council will get a new resolution spelling out requirements for Iraq to submit to weapons inspections.

The office of Prime Minister Tony Blair says the new U.N. resolution will specify the conditions Iraq must meet if U.N. inspectors return to resume their search for weapons of mass destruction.

A Blair spokesman said the 15-member Security Council will get the draft in a few days. He said the United Nations must not allow Iraq to delay Security Council action through diplomatic maneuvering.

Britain has been working with the United States on drafting the new resolution.

Iraqi government radio said last week Iraq would reject any U.N. resolution that changes the ground rules for weapons inspections.

The inspections have been suspended since 1998. They began following the 1991 Gulf war that ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

In related developments, Mr. Blair called his cabinet members to a meeting to brief them on a government report detailing Iraq's weapons program.

The report is scheduled for release Tuesday, before a special session of parliament to debate the Iraq crisis. The Blair government hopes it will convince parliament that Iraq must be dealt with firmly.

Mr. Blair faces some resistance within his cabinet when talk turns to possible war against Iraq. His secretary for international development, Clare Short, says she does not want to see another Gulf war because she says it would hurt the people of Iraq.

There is also pressure from outside the government. Britain's chief labor union leader, John Monks, told reporters Monday that military action would have to have U.N. support.

"We are certainly not in favor of unilateral action by the United States, or bilateral action between the United States and Britain. But the key to it all would be the judgment of the United Nations and it is Security Council," Mr. Monks said.

In addition, the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat party, Charles Kennedy, says he would demand a vote in parliament if Mr. Blair plans to send British soldiers to fight in Iraq.

"If there was to be an issue, which could involve any possible use or deployment of British forces, we would be at the forefront of insisting that would have to go before a vote in the House of Commons," Mr. Kennedy said.

The Blair government insists that war with Iraq is not inevitable and that diplomatic pressure through the United Nations is the best way to proceed for the moment.

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