On Tuesday after prolonged consultations the USA introduced to the UN Security Council a new draft resolution on Iraq. In the opinion of American diplomats, this draft resolution takes into account positions of other members of the UN Security Council and US President George Bush emphasized that the draft resolution provided another opportunity to peacefully settle the situation. However, judging by the reaction of the Russian side, it is not quite true. Informed sources in Moscow indicate that the new resolution preserves the mechanism of automatic use of force against Iraq.
The previous British-American draft resolution gave right to automatically, without a special UN resolution, unleash a war in Iraq in case Baghdad refused to compromise. France, while, like Russia, opposing such approach put forward a two-staged plan. It presumed that in case Iraq interfered with inspections, military force would be used only with UN Security Council's agreement and by the results of new consultations. This plan suits Russia and Arab countries, at least the most influential of them, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Thus, the USA and the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and France, Russia and China, on the other hand, were separated, first of all, by the approach to the problem of automatic use of force if Iraq started somehow to obstruct inspections.
According to the informed sources, the text of the new resolution represents a kind of a compromise solution between the French and the initial variants.
Actually, the USA in certain aspects softened its stand. For example, Americans withdraw from the resolution the paragraph, which stated that the military had to accompany inspectors everywhere and proposed only the UN office guarding option. Nevertheless, the moot point of the resolution, which became the cause of the split in the Security Council, essentially underwent no changes. The idea behind the new resolution is that if it seems to the armaments monitoring inspectors that they face any opposition from Iraqi authorities or Iraqi population, then the new UN resolution automatically enters into force giving the right to deliver a strike against Iraq. The second resolution has to be drafted and approved concurrently with the basic one and be known to everybody, so additional discussions which France insisted on will not be required. Essentially the principle of the automatic use of force against Iraq is preserved and that disappoints Moscow.
Presently Paris, Beijing and Moscow took a time-break to think the new draft resolution over. The Chinese leadership made no comments regarding its attitude to the new resolution having stated that it would study attentively the American proposals. Nevertheless, obvious dissatisfaction with the new draft resolution was heard in statements of French representative in the United Nations Organization, Jean-David Levitte, who complained that "there emerged no hope for the soonest adoption of a resolution on Iraq." Evidently, Paris is not satisfied with the option of automatic use of force against Iraq. Last weekend French President Jacques Chiraq while touring about the countries of the Middle East stated that "the international community could not support the idea of automatic use of force against Iraq". The Russian Foreign Ministry was of the same opinion.
It seems so that the new draft resolution on Iraq did not eliminate but added problems for diplomats and the whole international community. Debates around Iraq are going on though, according to Richard Boucher, US State department representative, the USA "clearly gives to understand that it's time to finalize discussions and wishes to have this problem solved." However, it's hardly possible on the basis of the present UN draft resolution on Iraq.
The Russian Armed Forces returned to strategic positions of the first "Surovikin line” east of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia direction of hostilities