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Home > News > PTI

Vote on Iraq delayed to give Russia, France more time

October 16, 2003 13:38 IST

The United States has postponed the vote on its new Iraq resolution to later in the day to allow French, Russian and German leaders to hold consultations even as Washington received important support from China and Pakistan for its draft leading it to predict a 'successful vote.'

Also see: War in Iraq-- The complete coverage

"A great deal of progress has been made over the last 24 hours and especially today. I think that we will have a successful vote on the resolution," Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters in Washington.

Powell said he had spoken to colleagues from Angola, Germany and Pakistan besides representatives for permanent council members Britain and China.

Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram said: "We will vote for the resolution."

China is also expected to vote for the resolution.

"I think our attitude has become more and more positive. If a vote is taken, I hope that there will be more members supporting this draft," China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said.

"What we want to see is a stronger role for the UN and early return of sovereignty. At this stage I think this resolution is far from what we expect. But I think as council members we should always be ready to make some compromises," Wang said.

The US agreed to Russia's request for voting to be postponed so that the leaders of France, Russia and Germany could discuss the final draft and decide whether to vote or not to support the resolution.

The vote is now expected to be around 1930 IST.

The delay on the vote came at the end of day-long intense diplomatic drama during which consultations to precede the vote were postponed twice as informal discussions continued.

Diplomats say the United States has requisite nine votes for getting the resolution adopted even if France, Russia, Germany and China abstained.

But American Ambassador John Negroponte agreed to the postponement to give time to diplomacy at higher level to try to sort out things so that Russia, France, China and Germany also come on board.

Some diplomats hinted that there might be small changes in the resolution to enable the four, or at least some of them, to vote for the resolution.

Diplomats say the fear is that abstention by the four would send a signal that the Council is divided and also might defeat the purpose of the resolution to enable member states to contribute troops for stabilisation of and money for reconstruction of Iraq.

The United States failure to incorporate major demands of France, Russia and Germany in the resolution had led to speculations that they might abstain. But diplomats said it was clear that France, Germany or China do not intend to veto it.

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