The White House has flatly dismissed a proposal by some UN Security Council members to extend by one-month a March 17th deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said on Tuesday the United States will call a vote this week on a UN resolution authorizing war on Iraq --despite opposition to the measure from key members of the Council.
He says President Bush believes there is a little more room for diplomacy on the issue, but in his words, "not much time."
Both the United States and Britain are holding last minute consultations with Council members in the hopes of gaining enough support to pass the new resolution.
The resolution needs nine votes from the 15-member council to pass. But, two of the five permanent Council members who hold veto power, France and Russia, say they are prepared to vote "no."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday. The Kremlin says the Russian leader told Mr. Blair Russia believes U-N weapons inspections should continue because they are showing "concrete results."
Mr. Bush also continued telephone diplomacy, with calls to Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Angola is currently a member of the U-N Security Council.
Meanwhile, the Security Council opened debate on the Iraqi crisis at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The open meeting gives nations a chance to voice their views on the issue and will give both sides more time to lobby for their position.
Iraq's U-N ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri told the Council Iraq will convincingly respond to anyone who doubts its cooperation with U-N resolution 14-41-- which authorized weapons inspections in Baghdad.