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The Iraqi Situation - an Update on the UN Resolution - 2003-03-13

The White House says it is open to delaying a vote on a new Security Council resolution demanding Iraqi disarmament, which would pave the way for war against Iraq. At the same time Baghdad says it will soon give UN weapons inspectors reports on anthrax and V-X nerve gas it produced.

U.S. President George W. Bush says he is still committed to bringing the resolution to a vote in the Security Council, but now says a delay in the vote is possible.

Speaking to lawmakers Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Bush Administration would be examining the option of pulling back the resolution with France promising to veto it, regardless of the language in it.

As it is now written, the resolution gives Iraq until March 17th to prove it has gotten rid of all its banned weapons or face military action. France and Russia, both permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, strongly oppose the measure, as do other members.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on all members of the council to work together to break the impasse.

“Governments have to find a way of working together. Regardless of how this crisis or the current issue is resolved, the Council will have to work together and the member states will have to work together to deal with the situation in Iraq, in the Middle East and in many other issues.”

Meanwhile, in Iraq, UN weapons inspectors continued to search for banned weapons of mass destruction Thursday while officials said they plan to give UN arms inspectors reports on the status of both anthrax and V-X nerve gas produced by Iraq, something the inspectors have repeatedly requested. Iraq has previously said it destroyed its chemical weapons shortly after the 1991 Gulf War.