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Hopes Fading for Diplomatic Solution to Iraq Crisis - 2003-03-14


Efforts to secure a new U.N. resolution on Iraqi disarmament are reported to be in serious jeopardy. There are still hopes that some diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis can be salvaged, but those hopes are fading fast.

Diplomats at the United Nations say it is premature to speak of the death of diplomacy in the Iraqi crisis. They say new ideas, as well as variations on old ones, are still being discussed.

But Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, says there is no guarantee the six undecided members of the Security Council can come up with a workable plan. "We are trying to work, but there is no certainty that we will be able to come up with anything as yet," he said.

A British proposal, backed by the United States, would set six criteria for Iraq to demonstrate its disarmament efforts, and give Baghdad a short time to comply. But the proposal has run into opposition, particularly from France and Russia, both of which have threatened to invoke their veto power to kill any new resolution.

The U.S., British, and Spanish leaders are to meet in Portugal's Azores Islands on Sunday to try to salvage a diplomatic solution.

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