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Consensus Eludes Europeans on UN Iraq Proposal - 2003-09-10

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, says the 15-nation EU is far from agreement on a U.S. resolution before the U.N. Security Council that would authorize an expanded multinational force in Iraq.

"We're still a long way from achieving consensus both among ourselves and with other members of the Security Council," Mr. Solana told the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament in Brussels.

The United States wants the Security Council to authorize more peacekeeping troops and reconstruction money for Iraq. Germany, France, Russia and other countries insist greater U.N. involvement in Iraq must be accompanied by a larger role for the United Nations in the reconstruction process. They also want a timetable established for restoring Iraqi sovereignty and turning over political responsibility to the Iraqi people.

Mr. Solana had said earlier that the EU members are committed to finding a consensus on the resolution. However, Germany and France have said the draft does not do enough to put the United Nations at the center of Iraq's reconstruction. France has veto power on the Security Council and opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked foreign ministers of the council's five permanent members, Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain, to meet in Geneva Saturday to find a compromise.

Under the U.S. draft resolution, Washington would not give up political or military control of Iraq. Instead, it proposes that any expanded military mission in Iraq, even if under a U.N. flag, should stay under the command of an American general.