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Powell: It's Time to 'Wrap Up' UN Talks on Iraq Resolution - 2002-10-22

The United States is urging other members of the U.N. Security Council to act quickly on its revised draft resolution on disarming Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell is leading the administration's diplomatic drive with phone calls Tuesday to key foreign ministers.

Mr. Powell was on the phone with his Russian and French counterparts in an effort to bring a conclusion to the U.N. deliberations underway now for more than a month.

The United States Monday presented a draft resolution providing tough new terms for U.N. weapons inspections and warning Iraq of "serious consequences" if it does not comply.

The language of the U.S. draft has been softened to accommodate concerns of other council members. And State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said while deliberations over the three-page document will be complicated, they shouldn't take long.

"I'm not prepared to give a time frame for this. It is complicated," he emphasized. "But I did make clear yesterday and I'll say again today, we think it's time to wrap it up. So it may be messy but it doesn't necessarily have to take a long time, if people bear down and try to do it."

Secretary Powell is expected to continue his diplomatic drive for the resolution Wednesday when he flies to the Mexican resort of Cabo San Lucas for ministerial talks in advance of this weekend's APEC summit of Pacific-rim countries.

He will meet there with, among others, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who said in Moscow the U.S. draft does not meet all criteria his government has set for an acceptable resolution.

French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin has also said there is still "much work to do" before an agreement is reached.

In an ABC television interview late Tuesday, Secretary Powell said forestalling action on disarming Iraq, "just leads to the inevitability" of Saddam Hussein and his regime becoming more dangerous.

He said it would be "fine" if Iraq could be persuaded to give up its weapons of mass destruction through peaceful means, but warned that the Iraq leader will not let inspectors in, or disarm, "unless he is fearful of a conflict that would remove him from power."