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Blix to brief Security Council on Iraq

Blix, left, discusses the progress of talks with the head of the Iraqi delegation, Amir Al Sadi.
Blix, left, discusses the progress of talks with the head of the Iraqi delegation, Amir Al Sadi.

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CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports on the agreement in Vienna (October 1)
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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council will not formally discuss the sticky subject of an Iraq resolution until after a briefing from weapons inspectors Thursday, officials told CNN.

The five permanent members of the council -- the ones with veto power -- agreed to wait until their face-to-face briefing from chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed ElBaradei.

One Chinese diplomat told CNN Wednesday that "cosmetic changes will not be enough" to satisfy their concerns with the current U.S. draft resolution. "The U.S. will have to decide to go on alone" or "compromise," the diplomat said.

The permanent members met Tuesday to discuss the "concepts" of the U.S. resolution, whose only other supporter among the five permanent members is the United Kingdom. Diplomats emerged giving no sign that the United States had made any headway with other members.

One diplomat supportive of the U.S. resolution told CNN that the United States has a "long road to go" in its efforts to get its draft approved.

The U.S. made clear Tuesday it did not want a return of weapons inspectors to Iraq until after a tough new U.N. resolution was passed.

It is unlikely this would present any dilemma for Hans Blix. As a representative of current council member Norway said, "I doubt Blix will send inspectors back before he feels the council is comfortable."

During talks with Blix in Vienna, Iraq agreed Tuesday to readmit arms inspectors under existing U.N. agreements, possibly within two weeks. The inspectors left in 1998. (Story)

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told a Labour Party conference Wednesday the agreement did not lessen the need for a new resolution.

"The very fact that Saddam Hussein has shifted this far, but only under the threat of force, makes the case even stronger for a new comprehensive and tough Security Council resolution," he said.

Russia welcomed the Vienna agreement. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said in a statement Wednesday the decision "opens up real prospects for the work of the inspectors."

"[This] will provide an answer to questions about the state of banned Iraqi programmes to build weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means," he said.

Meanwhile, a French draft resolution circulating for several days puts forward the two-step approach the French favor: allowing inspectors to do their work first and leaving consideration of possible action against Iraq to a later stage.

Earlier this week French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared in an editorial in the French daily Le Monde, "We do not want to give carte blanche to military action."

France's proposal -- which has not been and may not be formally submitted -- demands Iraq's cooperation, but says any further "measure" would be decided only if the council hears from inspectors that Iraq is not complying.

The French draft does, however, seem to accommodate U.S. concerns about the need for a more rigorous inspection process.

In its current form, the French draft leaves room for text spelling out revisions in current weapons inspections procedures -- a U.S. demand.

Aziz said Iraq would defend itself and fight
Aziz said Iraq would defend itself and fight "very effectively" if it had to

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz has said his country would fight "very effectively" if attacked by the United States. (Story)

He said there was no need for a new U.N. resolution to cover the operations of arms inspectors in Iraq. "The Americans are pushing for a belligerent, new resolution which reveals their real intentions," he said.

"I have always said that the question of weapons of mass destruction raised by the United States and Britain is a pretext ... to justify the unjustifiable aggression on Iraq," Aziz said.

"If they were genuine in their concern, they should be happy that Iraq and Mr. Blix have reached an agreement for the resumption of inspections."

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