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US to Pursue UN Resolution Enlisting Help for Coalition Effort in Iraq - 2003-08-21

Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States is working on a new U.N. resolution that would encourage more U.N. member-states to help the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. Mr. Powell met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss the situation in Iraq following Tuesday's deadly terrorist attack at the United Nations' Baghdad headquarters.

Mr. Powell says that there already is an international presence in Iraq. About 22,000 troops from 30 nations are serving under coalition control.

But some nations, such as India and Turkey, have said that they require further Security Council authorization to send troops to Iraq.

As the United States discusses troop contributions with more than a dozen other countries, Mr. Powell says that the United States is exploring a possible new Security Council resolution to encourage other nations to participate.

"We are looking at, of course, reaffirming our determination to succeed in Iraq," he explained. "We are looking for language that might call on member states to do more, but President [Bush] has always felt that the United Nations has a vital role to play. He has said that repeatedly. It is playing a vital role, that's what Sergio [Vieira de Mello] and his colleagues were doing."

Mr. Powell offered condolences to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the loss of U.N. staff, including top U.N. envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in Tuesday's bombing.

The Security Council is now reassessing security arrangements for its operations in Iraq.

Mr. Annan says the United Nations will continue its work towards reconstruction of Iraq, but will not send U.N. peacekeepers, known as blue helmets.

"On the question of security, we have no intention of recommending a U.N. blue helmet. So it really is either an international force that oversees the security arrangement with the United Nations focusing on the economic, political, and social areas where we do our best work," he said.

Neither Mr. Annan, nor Mr. Powell could confirm reports that the United Nations had turned down the British and U.S.-led coalition's offers of protection in Baghdad in order to maintain its independence. The secretary-general is also scheduled to discuss Iraq on Friday with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.