Iraq is continuing to destroy more banned missiles as part of its United Nations mandated disarmament. This as the Bush Administration tries to win support for a second UN resolution that would give Iraq until March 17th to disarm or face the possibility of war.
Under UN supervision Iraq destroyed six more Al Samoud 2 missiles bringing the total number demolished to nearly 50. The Iraqi government insists it is working hard towards compliance with UN mandates to disarm. But Baghdad is dismissing a U.S. and British ultimatum of March 17th to fully destroy its alleged weapons of mass destruction or face war.
Iraqi General Hussam Amin, the top official assigned to monitor UN weapons inspections, says he believes the Security Council will not approve the resolution.
HUSSAM AMIN, IRAQI GENERAL
“We think that these attempts will be refused by the other states, the other members of the Security Council.”
In Washington the Bush Administration is lobbying hard to get the nine votes needed on the UN Security Council to pass the resolution.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell believes there would be enough votes to pass the resolution seeking a March 17th deadline.
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL
“I think we are in striking distance of that. We will be in intense negotiations over the next couple of days and a lot of diplomacy will be taking place.”
At the same time opponents are working equally hard. France has said it would not allow a war measure to pass. And on Monday Russia indicated it, too, might veto a new resolution on Iraq. Only one veto is needed to defeat the resolution.
However the United States is still hoping the two countries will switch from their veto positions and abstain if it appears a majority of the Security Council members support the measure. A vote could take place as early as Tuesday.
Meanwhile Iraq was considering inviting Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix back to Baghdad on March 17th.
And delegates from Arab countries are scheduled to visit the Iraqi capital this week to try to come up with a plan to avert a possible war with the United States.