Security Council holds closed-door consultations on Iraq, agrees to meet again Friday

Security Council holds closed-door consultations on Iraq, agrees to meet again Friday

Ambassador Sergey Lavrov
After holding closed-door consultations on the latest diplomatic moves to address the situation in Iraq, members of the United Nations Security Council today decided to continue their talks on Friday.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation voiced his country's two basic concerns about a draft resolution presented by the United States, namely “the automaticity of the use of force” and “loading [UN weapons] inspectors in spite of their wishes with unimplementable mandates.”

These two elements were of principal interest to Moscow and had long been communicated to Washington, he said. “Unfortunately, so far we have not seen changes in the text which would take into account these concerns.”

Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom said the text in question “is intended very clearly to be a last chance offer to Iraq.” The message was that Baghdad must “take the inspection process seriously; it's going to be a tough one but it's going to be a fair one under UN rules and if you get it wrong, that's a disaster for you.”

He added that operative paragraph 12 in the text calls for “a second stage, where the Security Council considers any report from the inspectors that shows trouble and will have a discussion at that point.”

Ambassador Greenstock cautioned patience, stressing that the process would “take a few more days.”

Ambassador John D. Negroponte of the United States said there had been “brief, preliminary comments” on the draft before the Council agreed to continue consultations on Friday morning.

While declining to speculate on when the text might be adopted, he said, “time is going by and I think we all feel that the moment has come to get an added sense of urgency to this question,” and voiced hope that the process would move as quickly as possible.

The US Ambassador said “most if not all” Council members generally accepted that it would be “useful and important” to have another resolution on Iraq.