Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has welcomed passage of a new U.N. Security Council Resolution on Iraq but is downplaying expectations it could lead to a quick influx of foreign forces to relieve U.S. troops.
Mr. Rumsfeld calls the new resolution a "good thing" and says it will have what he predicts is a "favorable effect" in some countries.
But he tells reporters at the Pentagon Thursday it is not yet clear whether the Security Council action will result in any quick decisions by foreign nations to send troops to Iraq.
"Which countries and how many troops it might affect, I think, remains to be seen," he said. "We're in discussions with - oh, goodness, I'm going to guess - five or six, seven, countries still about it, and time will tell. And it's really up to them and to their parliaments and their cabinets."
Mr. Rumsfeld also says there are additional complications, like the need for the U.S. military's Central Command to coordinate future foreign troop deployments and also for Iraq's interim governing council to give its approval.
"We have the U.S. military - CENTCOM - that would have to work with them, develop a memorandum of understanding as to where they would be located, how they would be supplied, what roles they would have, are they properly equipped," he said. "There's a whole set of issues that are quite important. And, an additional dimension of complexity is, we would have to work with the Iraqis, because whatever we end up with has to be acceptable to the country offering troops, to the Iraqis, and to CENTCOM as to how it is all done. That suggests to me that it takes a little time. And therefore we're going to continue working the problems."
In the meantime, General Richard Myers, Chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, says fresh American combat units have already been put on alert for possible deployment to Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld calls this a "back-up plan" in the event a sufficient number of foreign forces are not found as replacement troops.
There are currently about 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq along with some 24,000 troops from other countries.