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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.S. and U.N. officials are working on language of a draft resolution "that might call on member states to do more" in Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday after meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Powell said that discussions on the draft in the Security Council might include "issues with respect to the role the U.N. might play" in Iraq.
The resolution would be designed to encourage more countries to send troops to help secure Iraq, a U.S. official said in Washington.
Powell also was discussing ways to enhance security for aid workers and other civilians who are part of reconstruction efforts in Iraq, said the senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
While the United States was encouraging a new resolution, it was not willing to give up control in Iraq to the United Nations. Some nations have demanded greater U.N. authority before they would send troops.
Powell said the countries that have sent troops to Iraq want U.S. command over the peacekeeping operation. "You have to have control of a large military organization. That's what U.S. leadership brings to the coalition."
"We have said all along that we want to U.N. to play a vital role. The issue of ceding authority is not an issue we have had to discuss today," Powell said.
The U.S.-led occupation authority was authorized by U.N. resolutions, he said. "We're on solid ground there."
The possibility of a new U.N. resolution to enlist more foreign troops to bolster the U.S-led military presence in Iraq was at the top of the agenda as the United Nations searches for ways to improve security in Iraq after the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters, which killed at least 23 people.
The idea surfaced last month after France, Germany and India refused a U.S. request to provide troops for the U.S.-led force in Iraq unless there is a broader U.N. mandate. These countries and other, including Turkey and Russia, have made clear they don't want their forces serving under U.S. command.
Powell also contacted other foreign ministers this week about a new resolution -- including Jack Straw of Britain, Dominique de Villepin of France, Joschka Fischer of Germany and Franco Frattini of Italy, a U.S. official said in Washington. Straw was also expected to meet Annan at U.N. headquarters later Thursday.
However, unless Washington agrees to cede some control of Iraq to the United Nations, diplomats said the possibility of a robust multinational force appeared unlikely to pick up any new proponents.
"Everybody speaks about the need to improve security but, how can we achieve it?," asked Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Gennady Gatilov. "I don't think that we have an immediate answer to this issue now."
"The first thing that comes to my mind" is that the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority should take "additional steps" to provide security, he said.
Privately, several council diplomats expressed concern that the United States would try to take advantage of the emotional mood after Tuesday's bombing to push for troop contributions.
Despite unanimous condemnation of the bombing and support for a continued U.N. presence in the country, Iraq remains a sensitive and difficult issue five months after the bitterly divided Security Council refused to back the U.S.-led war.
Annan said the United Nations has started assessing security arrangements, and he will make recommendations to the Security Council at a future date.
A May 22 resolution on Iraq gave the United Nations significant roles in providing humanitarian relief and in helping to rebuild the country, but the United Nations was excluded from any military or security role, except helping to train a police force.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)