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Bush to try diplomacy with Iraq again

President Bush gestures as he answers questions from reporters on Monday.
President Bush gestures as he answers questions from reporters on Monday.

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CNN's Richard Roth says the U.S. faces continued resistance from France and Russia on a resolution over Iraq (October 21)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Monday he would try diplomacy "one more time" in the hope that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will disarm. His comments came hours after U.S. diplomats delivered a draft resolution on Iraq to the United Nations.

"We've tried diplomacy. We're trying it one more time," Bush said after a meeting with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson. "I believe the free world, if we make up our mind to, can disarm this man peacefully. But if not, we have the will and the desire, as do other nations, to disarm Saddam."

The United States presented the text of the draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council's other permanent members -- China, Russia, Britain and France -- during a meeting Monday, the White House said. One diplomatic source called it "a tough resolution."

"The Security Council came in at 11 this morning for discussions among the (five permanent members) on the resolution," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said at a White House press briefing.

He did not give details on the resolution, but said the inspections structure of the '90s would be replaced with one that is "new and much tougher and more effective."

Richard Boucher, State Department spokesman, said the "new text" came after conversations with French, Russian, and British officials.

"I would say that the United States has presented a revised text which achieves our goal ... in a way that can garner support of other members by taking into account the issues and ideas that they've raised," Boucher said in a State Department briefing.

Fleischer said that based on the resolution, the United States "would have all the authority that it needs along with its allies."

The proposal reportedly offers a compromise in the dispute over what kind of resolution should be approved.

In the weeks since Bush delivered his strong speech on Iraq at the United Nations on September 12, the United States, in concert with British officials, has been trying to reach consensus among the permanent Security Council members on the language of a new resolution on Iraq.

The key to breaking the impasse, U.S. officials said, was winning the support of France, which had insisted on two separate resolutions -- deferring the threat of consequences until later. The United States had originally pushed for a single resolution authorizing force if Iraq did not cooperate with weapons inspectors.

Language circulated by the Bush administration last week indicated that it was willing to go along with a resolution saying that if Iraq failed to cooperate, weapons inspectors would report to the Security Council, which would immediately convene to consider next steps.

Western diplomats said the implication in the language is that the United States would not take military action before any council meeting on a violation, but it would not have to wait for the council to agree on a formal resolution authorizing a response.

-- CNN State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel and U.N. Producer Liz Neisloss contributed to this report.



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