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UN Security Council Hears New Iraq Disarmament Report - 2003-03-07

The United Nations Security Council meets Friday to hear a new report on disarmament in Iraq. The council remains deeply split over an effort by the United States to get U.N. support for military action against Iraq.

Foreign ministers of several U.N. Security Council members began arriving in New York Thursday, underscoring the importance of Friday's council meeting.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw are among the diplomats who will assemble to hear U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix's latest report on Iraqi disarmament. The meeting is widely viewed as critical to efforts by the United States to win international backing for a war against Iraq.

The United States says Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has not cooperated with U.N. disarmament efforts and is seeking Security Council sanction to use military force against Iraq. But three key European states on the council Germany, France, and Russia want to give inspections more time and have voiced strong opposition to any U.S.-led military action.

Russia and France have veto power in the Security Council, and have indicated they may wield that veto to block any new U.S.-initiated resolution on Iraq.