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U.S. wants U.N. vote on Iraq resolution

Official: Resolution does not 'handcuff' president

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(CNN) -- The latest U.S.-British draft resolution on Iraq presented Wednesday to the U.N. Security Council calls for an immediate council meeting if Iraq does not comply with weapons inspectors and warns of "serious consequences" for continued violations.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said consultations were continuing but that the United States intended to bring the draft resolution to a council vote Friday.

President Bush spoke Wednesday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to coordinate strategy for the planned vote, White House officials said.

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the draft "takes into account the views that we heard from our allies on the Security Council."

France is expected to fully support the latest draft, which addresses its concern the resolution not include language authorizing an attack on Iraq for not complying.

Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador to the United Nations, said France remains concerned about ambiguities and wants clear language describing the inspection regimen.

But, he said, "I wouldn't say it's really a problem of substance, more a problem of drafting."

The resolution includes language stating that Iraq would be in "further material breach" of U.N. resolutions if it does not comply with the disarmament regimen and warns of "serious consequences."

The latest draft reinforces the idea that the United States would return to the Security Council before taking military action. Although it does not call for a second resolution, it says any failure by Iraq to cooperate "will be reported to the council for assessment."

However, the Bush administration continues to say that while it would consult with the Security Council, it is not required to get U.N. approval for any military action.

The draft resolution "does not handcuff the president" in any way, said a senior administration official, who did not want to be identified.

Debate over the resolution highlights the continuing tensions between Iraq and the United States and its allies. On Wednesday, coalition aircraft flying over Iraq's southern "no-fly" zone attacked several military targets in response to hostile actions. (Full story)

In a related development, an intelligence review obtained by CNN estimates that Iraq has two-dozen Scud missiles left over from the 1991 Gulf War. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein probably would not use them, says the report, unless he felt his regime was in danger of collapse. (Full story)

Draft replaces previous resolutions

The draft supersedes previous resolutions demanding Iraq abandon its weapons of mass destruction and sets up conditions under which Iraq must disarm and comply with the resolution.

It calls on Baghdad to produce records dealing with its weapons programs since inspectors were last there, in 1998, and to allow free and unrestricted movement of new inspectors.

Those inspectors would also have the right to have "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access" to Iraq's so-called presidential sites, compounds that cover several square miles.

A previous agreement between Iraq and the United Nations required inspectors to provide advance notice before inspections and to work under diplomatic escort.

U.S. diplomats plan to lobby the Security Council to approve the draft before Friday's vote.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell canceled a weekend trip to Asia so he can seek the council's support, a State Department official said.

Powell was to have attended a Community of Democracies meeting in Seoul, South Korea, and was expected to travel to China and Japan to hold separate bilateral meetings.

In Powell's place, the State Department will send Assistant Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky.

CNN White House correspondent Kelly Wallace, Senior White House correspondent John King and State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel contributed to this report.



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