NATURAL SOUND: Prisoners running out of jail.

This was the scene in Baghdad Sunday, as prisoners literally ran out of jails, after Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, freed all political prisoners under an unprecedented general amnesty. Officially it is to mark his 100 percent win last week in an uncontested election.

But it is seen by many as an attempt to rally Iraqis behind Saddam's leadership in the face of a possible U.S. attack. It extends to Kuwaiti prisoners as well as most prisoners serving criminal sentences. Relatives flocked to jails to await the release of loved ones who may number several thousand.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues the pressure on the security council to quickly pass a new resolution on Iraq.

"For the sake of world peace, Saddam Hussein must do what he promised. For the sake of having an international body that is effective, the United Nations must make the resolve -- must be resolved -- to deal with this person."

But there is fresh resistance reported on the U.S.-proposed resolution from France and Russia whose foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, says Russia does not support the use of force if Iraq does not comply. His comment came after meeting with the top U.N. arms inspector, Hans Blix, who struck a note of guarded optimism.

"I think that if the Iraqis help and cooperate to create confidence that there remain no weapons of mass destruction, then I think there will be no war."

A White House spokesman says the U.S. will continue to work with the U.N. on the U.S. resolution.