The United States will likely circulate a revised U.N. resolution on Iraq by the end of the week after studying proposed amendments by France, Russia, Syria, Chile and other Security Council members, diplomats said Monday.
The United States is seeking a new resolution to get more peacekeeping troops and money into Iraq, but the behind-the-scenes debate has focused more on the future U.N. role in Iraq and the restoration of the country's sovereignty.
Foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding U.N. powers discussed Iraq in Geneva on Saturday for the first time since the divisive U.S.-led war. Their talks highlighted the gap between the United States and France, Russia and China on a timetable for restoring Iraq's sovereignty. Britain is the fifth veto-wielding member.
"We're all regrouping," said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who was in Geneva with Secretary of State Colin Powell. "I'm awaiting Secretary Powell's return from his consultations in Baghdad, but I would expect that sometime during the course of this week this process of trying to move the resolution forward would once again resume."
In other recent developments:Secretary of State Colin Powell visited a mass grave Monday to highlight perhaps the single biggest human-rights abuse of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime — the chemical weapons murder of some 5,000 people in March 1988. Three masked gunmen assassinated the police chief of Khaldiya, a town in the dangerous Sunni Triangle, the chief's driver said. The publication of a full report on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction has been indefinitely postponed after inspectors found no evidence that any such weapons exist, reports the Times of London. CNN war correspondent Christiane Amanpour told CNBC her network "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship," according to USA Today.An American soldier was killed Monday in a grenade attack in Baghdad. On Sunday, insurgents killed a U.S. soldier and wounded three outside the troubled city of Fallujah. Since major combat was declared over in May, 156 American soldiers have died in Iraq. As of Saturday, the Pentagon reported 1,224 wounded in action and 316 wounded outside of combat.U.S. troops kept up the pressure on the resistance fighters in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit on Monday with raids on houses and the arrest of five men suspected of helping to finance attacks against the American-led occupation force. Five prominent Iraqis who are part of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council for Iraq reportedly want the Council to have more power. The Washington Post reports the five - who all opposed Saddam when he was in power - believe the Council should assume the powers of a sovereign government until a new constitution is written. That's far beyond what the U.S. has proposed. Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry says the Bush administration's Iraqi strategy is backfiring. "The $87 billion is the price tag for their arrogance and their miscalculations and that's continuing," said Kerry.
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