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US Intensifying Efforts on UN Iraq Resolution

The United States is intensifying its campaign to win United Nations Security Council support for a new draft resolution on Iraq. The original draft is likely to undergo substantial revision before it comes to a vote.

Security Council members held two preliminary sessions on the latest Iraq resolution Friday, one formal and the other informal. Both were behind closed doors.

Going into the talks, U.S. diplomats made clear they were open to suggested changes from other member countries. Diplomatic sources were quoted as saying France, Germany and Russia, all countries with deep reservations about the U.S. proposal, are not as far from Washington's position as earlier statements had indicated.

German and French leaders have made clear they consider the main objective of any resolution to be the transfer of power to an Iraqi government. Both countries are said to be preparing amendments to the U.S. draft.

British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry described Friday's discussions as a good first round. But he said there is still work to do in addressing what he called contradictions.

"On the one hand we all want to see an increased U.N. role, but on the other hand, for the moment, we have to do a certain amount of retrenchment," he said. "But solving that dilemma and doing it in a way the international community and the U.N. develop their presence and develop their role so we can succeed in Iraq, we're all determined to find solutions to that."

The original draft resolution submitted by Washington gives Security Council legitimacy to a multinational force under U.S. command to help stabilize Iraq. It would also give Security Council endorsement to the U.S. appointed Iraqi Governing Council until a constitution is written and elections are held.

France and Germany are said to be insisting on a timetable for elections and a greater role for the United Nations in the process. But French and German diplomats, as well as those from other countries that opposed the Iraq war, have softened their statements since the United States signaled its willingness this week to seek a fresh Security Council mandate.