Britain Still Working Towards UN Resolution

July 7, 2008 - 7:13 PM

London (CNSNews.com) - Britain is in negotiations with other U.N. Security Council members and is still optimistic about the chances for a new resolution on Iraq, the prime minister's official spokesman said Thursday.

The effort comes after France and Russia, two veto-holding members of the Security Council, pledged to oppose any council resolution that would lead to war.

After a meeting in Paris on Wednesday, Germany, a non-veto-holding member of the council, also said it would oppose another U.N. resolution.

China has also apparently backed the Russian and French line, although none of the veto-holding nations have explicitly said they would use their powers as permanent council members to stop a further resolution if it receives the required nine votes to pass.

"The tasks carried out by that resolution are not completed yet," Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told reporters. "We are still working hard for a political solution and to try to avoid war."

"At this moment, it is absolutely unnecessary to put aside Resolution 1441 and introduce a new resolution," he said.

Support for U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair rests heavily on the ability of the U.S. and Britain to obtain another Security Council resolution.

A MORI poll released Wednesday found that 75 percent of Britons are prepared to back war with Iraq with U.N. approval, up from 61 percent in January.

Without U.N. backing, however, 24 percent of the British public said they would support a war, while 67 percent said they would oppose it.

The poll also indicated deep dissatisfaction with the prime minister, as 36 percent of the British public support Blair's handling of the situation and 23 percent said that they approved of President Bush's efforts to resolve the crisis.

The poll was conducted between Feb. 28 and March 2. Blair also faces pressure from the House of Commons, where last week nearly 200 legislators voted in favor of an anti-war amendment.

Reports said Britain would attempt to amend a proposed resolution declaring Iraq in breach of U.N. Resolution 1441 by adding a deadline for Saddam Hussein to fully comply with weapons inspectors.

Blair's official spokesman refused to confirm the reports but did say during a press briefing that "there are discussions going on with all kinds of ideas being bounced around."

"Saddam Hussein 's duty is not to co-operate up to a point, but fully, in answering the questions posed by 1441," he said. "People will see the authority of the U.N. is weakened if Saddam is not made to comply."

The prime minister's spokesman said Thursday that there was an "inescapable logic" to 1441 and said that a second resolution would not have been offered if Britain and the United States were not serious about its chances of passing.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.