The full 15-member U-N Security Council meets later today (Wednesday) to discuss the U-S draft resolution on Iraq's disarmament -- even though the document is still not acceptable to permanent Council members France, Russia and China.
The members will hold informal consultations behind closed doors. A formal vote is not expected anytime soon, despite signs the Bush administration wants the U-N to act soon on the resolution.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer indicated the Bush administration is growing impatient for the Security Council to make a decision. In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said time is running out for the Security Council to act.
Russia, France and China -- all with veto power on the Security Council-- are not supporting the measure as it has been presented. One of the main sticking points is whether the United States should attack Iraq or go back to the U-N for more debate and another vote if Baghdad frustrates the inspections process.
Iraq is calling the U-S draft resolution a declaration of war. In the first Iraqi reaction to the U-S draft, Iraqi Culture Minister Hamed Yusef Hammadi told reporters at a conference in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday President Bush wants to use the United Nations as a tool to attack Iraq. Mr. Hammadi also said the United States intends to invade Iraq, with or without a U-N Security Council resolution.
News reports Wednesday, citing U-S Defense Department officials who wished to remain unidentified, said if it takes too long for a U-S resolution on Iraq, the Pentagon may be forced to delay an attack against Baghdad well into next year. The Washington Post newspaper reports Pentagon officials do not want to move tens of thousands of U-S troops to the Persian Gulf, only to wait months to attack.