US Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte said Monday that the UN Security Council is not expected to vote Tuesday on a US-British draft resolution giving Iraq until March 18 to disarm.
"I think it is highly unlikely that we'll have a vote tomorrow," Negroponte told reporters before heading into a closed-door meeting on the draft resolution.
Negroponte said that he and his British and Spanish colleagues -- Jeremy Greenstock and Inocencio Arias -- would instead suggest to other delegates that a vote be held sometime later this week.
Negroponte's remarks was the latest sign that the pro-war camp has so far failed to muster the necessary nine "yes" votes for the resolution among the 15 members of the council.
The US ambassador indicated last Friday that Washington was ready to put the resolution to a vote Tuesday or sometime there after.
Approval of the resolution needs the support of nine of the 15 Security Council members with France, China, Russia each avoiding casting a veto. The United States and Britain are the other two permanent members with veto power.
The resolution, which indirectly authorizes war with Iraq, has so far only been supported by elected council member Bulgaria butstrongly opposed by Russia, China, France, Germany and Syria.
French President Jacques Chirac, in a televised interview Monday, declared that France will veto any future resolution allowing military action against Iraq.
Guinean Ambassador Mamady Traore and Angolan Ambassador Gaspar Martins on Monday repeated their calls for a compromise plan between the US camp and the Russia-Germany-France camp.
Traore told reporters he has been meeting with other wavering council members since Saturday in search of a compromise.-- Angola, Cameroon, Mexico, Chile and Pakistan.
"Without a compromise we cannot reach a common position in the Security Council," he said.
Gaspar Martins called on the United States to show flexibility on the deadline for Iraq. "If there is no flexibility, we would have to take our decision," he said, declining to elaborate on Angola's position on the draft resolution.
Angola and Guinea, together with Cameroon, Mexico, Chile and Pakistan, are the so-called middle six that have not yet publicly taken a position and have been under heavy pressure from rival camps.