Britain Proposes Six-step Test to Win Support from UN Council

Britain, in a desperate attempt to muster support for a draft UN resolution paving the way to a possible Iraq war, offered on Wednesday what British ambassador to the UN Jeremy Greenstock called an exemplary set of tests for the Iraqi leadership.

He called the test a "trial balloon to see if there is a way out of our current difficulties, to see if we can keep the council together."

If the UN Security Council considered it a useful way forward, it could become part of the council position, or the position of enough council members to move forward together in greater clarity than the current text in blue, the ambassador told reporters after evening's consultations.

He also said if the British proposal gained enough attraction, and was considered by enough members to be a catalyst force, the cosponsors of the draft resolution would be prepared to drop operative paragraph three from the current draft resolution, the one that sets ultimatum.

"We are prepared to drop that ultimatum because it is the ultimatum that certain members of the council said it is unacceptable to their governments," he added.

He said since the Iraqi president had failed to cooperate fully, unconditionally, immediately, and actively, Britain would make clearer on what the British and Americans were asking President Saddam Hussein to do to ensure that process of inspection continue to complete disarmament without interruption.

In a revised draft side statement to the council Wednesday afternoon, Britain presented a six-point bar to measure Iraq's compliance with its disarmament obligations.

The first test is for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to make a public statement in Arabic declaring that Iraq has, in the past, sought to conceal its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and other proscribed activities, but has now decided not to produce or retain WMD or other banned items.

Iraq also must meet the following demands:

-- allow at least 30 scientists selected by inspectors to be interviewed outside Iraq along with their families;

-- surrender stocks of anthrax and other biological and chemical agents or produce documents to demonstrate what happened to them;

-- destroy all banned missiles;

-- account for unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely piloted vehicles, which could be used to hit targets with chemical or biological weapons;

-- surrender of and explanations about mobile chemical and biological production facilities.

Compared to the original draft that set a March 17 deadline, the new one did not suggest a date by which Iraq has to fulfill the six tough tasks.

It is not clear whether the benchmarks could be accepted by other council members.

Some council members, including Russia, have publicly expressed their concerns that even if Iraq met the requirements, the United States or Britain could prevent the council from making an objective conclusion by using their veto powers.

People's Daily Online ---