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U.N. push for Iraq consensus


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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he hopes to build a consensus quickly on the new Iraq resolution sought by the United States.

Annan is calling for a meeting in Geneva on Saturday with the foreign ministers of the Security Council's five permanent member nations -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- who all have veto power.

"If they sat and discussed frankly and openly, I think we will be able to find a solution," Annan told reporters at the United Nations.

Annan met with ambassadors from the 15-nation Security Council on Monday to discuss a document submitted by the United States that could become a draft resolution.

He also talked with the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell about an agenda for the Geneva talks.

The United States is seeking broader international participation in post-war Iraq.

Washington is looking for the United Nations to contribute peacekeeping troops and money to Iraq, but France and Germany are leading calls for a speedy restoration of Iraq's sovereignty and a larger U.N. role.

In pushing ahead, council members have said they want more global input into Iraq's political and economic affairs, Annan said, adding they "believe that it will bring greater legitimacy to the process and acceptability by the region."

All the Security Council members have said the goal is to hand control of Iraq over to Iraqis as soon as it's feasible.

"The essential part of the discussion," Annan said, is to "try and establish an Iraqi administration that would be responsible for running its own affairs -- and not so much for the U.N. to take over the management of Iraq."

On Sunday night U.S. President George W. Bush said he needed a massive $87 billion to fund the Iraq occupation and the mission in Afghanistan.

While supporters have praised Bush for what they call his commitment to finishing the job, critics say he lacks a solid plan and his request will only worsen a record U.S. deficit.

Washington's main coalition partner in Iraq said on Monday it was strengthening its troop force in Iraq.

British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says a contingent of 1,200 troops will be dispatched to Iraq, adding to the 11,000 already there. (More British troops for Iraq)

He said the decision follows a review of the situation in Iraq, but is not a reaction to recent attacks on British soldiers.


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