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Powell:  UN Resolution on Iraq Heading for Approval - 2004-06-05

Secretary of State Colin Powell says diplomats are making real progress on a new U.N. resolution supporting Iraq's transitional government. President Bush is meeting with French leader Jacques Chirac in Paris.

Secretary of State Powell says Iraq's new interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, has sent a letter to United Nations members, setting out the terms under which the transitional administration would like to see coalition forces remain in Iraq.

U.S. and British officials are pushing for a new U.N. resolution to back the interim government, but some Security Council members question how much authority that administration will have, with more than 130,000 U.S. troops staying in the country after the June 30 handover of power.

Secretary Powell says, if the new Iraqi government is satisfied, all his colleagues on the Security Council should be satisfied, as well. He told reporters on Air Force One on the way to France from Italy that he no longer sees a veto threat, and the only question now is whether the vote will be unanimous.

"We are in the end game," he said, "with the remaining issues expected to be settled in the next few days."

Secretary Powell said a very important piece of the puzzle has fallen into place, with the prime minister's letter, which lays out a country-wide committee structure governing political-to-political and political-to-military dialogue on the potential use of force.

Mr. Powell says that would assure that military activity is coordinated in a way that would avert misunderstandings.

Iraq is at the top of the agenda of President Bush's talks with President Chirac, ahead of Sunday's ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landing, which began the French liberation from Nazi rule.

Mr. Powell said Prime Minister Allawi's letter recognizes that the new Iraqi administration cannot yet provide for its own security. He said he will respond positively to the letter, which he expects will stand as an annex to the resolution currently before the United Nations.