Help In Iraq Slow To Come

President Bush's address to the United Nations and personal meetings with foreign leaders this week have yet to secure new foreign troop commitments or support for a U.S.-backed resolution on rebuilding Iraq.

In a sign of the tough task facing U.S. diplomats, Russian President Vladimir Putin implicitly criticized the United States on Thursday for launching a war on Iraq without U.N. approval, and demanded "direct participation" by the United Nations in rebuilding the country.

Resistance from other nations is so stiff that Mr. Bush did not solicit contributions from the leaders of France, Germany, India and Pakistan and none were volunteered. Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the possibility of Turkish peacekeepers with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul without getting a clear commitment.

Administration officials had hoped to reach a consensus on the U.S. resolution before Mr. Bush spoke Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. But work was halted, and while talks have resumed, a senior U.S. official acknowledged Wednesday it may take a month to work out a solution.

The chief sticking point is the U.S. plan to maintain effective control over Iraq rather than turning over power soon to an Iraqi government.

Mr. Bush and his senior advisers insist the transition would not be hurried, that building a democracy requires such steps as a constitution and free elections.

Everyone wants to transfer sovereignty to Iraqis, said a senior U.S. official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. But it has to be done in a responsible way, and that takes time, a senior official said.

Putin did not mention a timetable in his speech, focusing instead on the demand for U.N. action on many problems facing the world today — including Iraq — and stressing that the world body is "clearly irreplaceable."

"This is made abundantly clear by the following important fact. Despite sharp differences about how to resolve the Iraq crisis, the situation ultimately is coming back to the legal sphere of the United Nations," Putin said.

"The position of Russia here is consistent and clear. Only direct participation by the United Nations in the rebuilding of Iraq will enable its people themselves to decide on their future," he said.

Other world leaders also criticized Washington for harming the United Nations with its unilateralist approach in Iraq, while some thanked the world body for its role in healing conflict in their lands.

Mexico's President Vicente Fox said that some states' "discretionary attitude toward the mandatory resolutions of the U.N. deeply wounds our international organization."

Ghana's President John Agyekum Kufuor also implicitly faulted Washington for taking military action without U.N. authorization.

"We believe that the problems of the 21st century cannot be addressed without universal commitment to multilateralism spearheaded by the United Nations," he said.

In a partial U.S. diplomatic success, one of the leading opponents of the war, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, made a public reconciliation with Mr. Bush on Wednesday.

"We very much feel that the differences that have been, have been left behind and put aside by now," the German leader said. "We are both agreed that we want to look into the future together." But Schroeder did not commit troops to Iraq.

In Washington, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace said Wednesday the Pentagon is considering a call-up of more reserves, with a decision likely in four to six weeks if foreign countries do not pledge more troops. There are 130,000 American troops in Iraq, supported by a few thousand peacekeepers from Britain, Poland and other supporting countries.

Administration officials had hoped to raise 10,000 to 15,000 troops from other nations. One goal of the resolution was to induce Muslim countries to help out by giving peacekeeping efforts the U.N. stamp of approval.

Mr. Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, acknowledged getting help will take time but she remained optimistic that it can be arranged.

"I don't know the size of the help. But the important part of this resolution is, get the international community united behind the importance of a peaceful and democratic Iraq," she said Thursday on ABC.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in an Associated Press interview, said he wants to see a Muslim force assembled for Iraq that has the blessings of the United Nations or an international Islamic organization. He said he was talking with leaders of other Islamic countries to try to find a consensus.

"It is important that our troops not be seen as part of an occupation force," he said.

The idea is under consideration, said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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