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NYTimes.com Article: UN vote hurdle lies ahead for Washington
by threehegemons
16 October 2002 15:01 UTC
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This article from NYTimes.com 
has been sent to you by threehegemons@aol.com.

My apologies if this shows up twice--I think the new wsn system doesn't allow 
my posts from my old New York Times account.  

Anyway, this article notes unforseen obstacles to a US/UN resolution--the 
non-veto members of the security council.

Steven Sherman


UN vote hurdle lies ahead for Washington

October 15, 2002
By Carola Hoyos at the United Nations in New York 


While Washington focuses on France, Russia and China in its
campaign to win the United Nations Security Council&#039;s
approval for military action against Iraq, a handful of the
council&#039;s smaller members, from Ireland to Cameroon,
are beginning to wield quiet, but significant, influence. 

Unlike the five permanent (P5) members - the UK, the US,
France, Russia and China - none of the council&#039;s 10
elected members - Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway,
Singapore, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Syria -
can scuttle a resolution with one swoop of a veto. 

Their power lies in numbers: even if Washington is able to
persuade all the permanent members to refrain from blocking
the resolution, it still needs nine votes in favour for a
resolution to pass. 

"One role the E10 [elected 10] have is as a representative
of the non-membership," said one diplomat. "It works both
ways, some council members prefer being the voice of the
people, some try to play as full a part as possible in
their two years." 

Without an official draft resolution on the table, and much
of the discussion taking place between the permanent five
behind closed doors, the game is difficult to call.
Nevertheless, quietly evolving objections to the unofficial
US text among the elected 10 members has allowed permanent
members of the council that oppose the US position -
Russia, France and China - to brush aside talk of a veto on
the basis that they may never have to use it. 

The US may not be able to muster the nine votes needed to
pass the resolution, they argue, pointing out that Ireland,
Cameroon, Syria and possibly Mauritius are wary of giving
Washington immediate authority for military action against
Iraq, rather than leaving the Security Council to decide
what constitutes a trigger for war. 

Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, alluded to the
non-permanent members&#039; sentiment last week, saying: "I
think the member states want a two-stage approach: send in
the inspectors... if they get into trouble, if it fails,
come back and we will pass the second resolution." 

For many elected members of the Security Council, including
Mexico, the fewer votes that are cast for the US, and the
stronger the anti-US voices in the General Assembly, the
more difficult it becomes to back Washington without
appearing a pawn of the superpower. 

But even if a resolution were to pass the Security Council,
diplomats warn that anything below 12 or 13 votes in favour
would be seen as a failure to send Saddam Hussein,
Iraq&#039;s leader, a firm, unified message to accept
weapons inspectors and destroy his country&#039;s weapons
of mass destruction, or face the consequences. 

The US will face an extra challenge in January, when five
of the E10 - Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Syria -
end their two-year stint at the horseshoe table and Chile,
Germany, Pakistan, Spain and Angola take their seats. 

Diplomats have given themselves about two more weeks to
find a compromise between the two positions that have begun
the crystalise within the council. 

On one side are those who support France&#039;s proposal of
a two-step process that would set tough demands for Iraq
and a strengthened mandate for UN weapons inspectors in a
first resolution, but would leave the authorisation of
military force, in case of further breaches, to a second. 

The US, most loyally backed by the UK, however, wants one
all-embracing resolution that would allow it to pursue a
military campaign against Baghdad immediately, if Mr
Hussein does not comply. 

Colin Powell, US secretary of state, said on Tuesday the
French had proposed "some ideas" that the US was
considering, as part of a constant flow of amendments and
suggested compromises that has continued for the last

"We&#039;ll be responding to those ideas, and we&#039;ll
see how things unfold," he said, adding: "We continue to
believe that one resolution would suffice." 

In Chicago, Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary,
insisted the UN resolution must preserve its threat of
force in order to maintain pressure on the Iraqis. 

Diplomats remain optimistic about the prospect of finding a
compromise, and expect the French position to get a boost
in the next two days, when the Security Council holds an
open debate on the issue. That will give any UN member the
chance to speak. 

So far more than 50 countries have signed up to voice their
opinions. But their impact will be limited. Unlike the 15
members of the Security Council, they have a voice, but not
a vote. 


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