U.N. weapons inspectors say Iraq has shown more cooperation with U.N. disarmament efforts in recent weeks. But the United States says cooperation has been grudging and incomplete, and is still pressing for a new Security Council resolution on using military force against Iraq.
Chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohammad ElBaradei told the U.N. Security Council Friday that Iraq has stepped up cooperation with U.N. disarmament efforts.
But following the inspectors' report, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell derided Iraq's behavior, calling it a "catalogue of non-cooperation." He called on the Security Council to pass a new resolution on Iraq.
One draft resolution circulating here would allow Iraq a short time to fully comply with disarmament demands, or face military action.
But, in unusually blunt language, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed to block any new resolution. "As a permanent member of the Security Council, I will say it again: France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force," said Dominique de Villepin.
France can, as a permanent member, use its veto to scuttle passage of a new resolution.