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Leaders of France, Germany Criticize U.S.-Proposed Resolution

Leaders of France, Germany Criticize U.S.-Proposed Resolution

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DRESDEN, Germany (AP) -- The leaders of Germany and France criticized a U.S. draft resolution seeking international troops and money for Iraq, saying it falls short by not granting responsibility to Iraqis or a large enough role to the United Nations.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States would welcome "constructive input" from the two countries on the resolution -- but he insisted the draft put forward Wednesday already addresses France and Germany's concerns.

The U.S. proposed resolution seeks troops and financial support for Iraq's postwar reconstruction but declines to relinquish political or military control of the country.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac insisted Washington had to go further.

The U.S. plan does not address the "priority objective" -- the transfer of power to a homegrown Iraqi government, Chirac said. Schroeder said the draft resolution had brought "movement" into the diplomacy. But he added: "I agree with the president when he says: Not dynamic enough, not sufficient."

"Now is the time the to look forward, and that can only happen if the United Nations can take responsibility for the political process," Schroeder said.

In Washington, Powell noted that the French and Germans had not put forward a timetable for transferring power to the Iraqis, and he underlined that the resolution calls on the Iraqis to help work out a timetable.

"I think the resolution is drafted in a way that deals with the concerns that leaders such as President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder have raised in the past," he said. "We'd be more than happy to listen to their suggestions."

France is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, a position that gives it veto power over Council actions. Schroeder and Chirac were both ardent opponents of the war in Iraq, and both are particularly adamant that the United States cede control of the political process there.

They said they hoped that the United States would be open to changes in the draft.

"We are naturally ready to study it in the most positive manner," Chirac said of the U.S. draft, adding that France would "present modification and amendments." He also said he believed any vote on the resolution was still some time away.

The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, would transform the U.S.-led military force in Iraq into a U.N.-authorized multinational force under a unified command. Powell has since said an American would remain at the top of the unified command.

Key provisions in the U.S. draft would:

-- Call on U.N. member states to help train and equip an Iraqi police force.

-- Invite the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council to cooperate with the United Nations and U.S. officials in Baghdad to produce "a timetable and program for the drafting of a new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections."

-- Ask the U.N. representative in Iraq to facilitate a "national dialogue and consensus building" to promote the political transition.

-- Ask all U.N. member states and international and regional organizations "to accelerate the provision of substantial financial contributions to support the Iraqi reconstruction effort" and appeal to international financial institutions to provide loans and other assistance.

--Call on countries in the region "to prevent the transit of terrorists, arms for terrorists, and financing that would support terrorists."

Powell, who outlined the U.S. proposal at a news conference Wednesday, made clear that "the United States will continue to play a dominant role" both politically and militarily. An American commander would take charge of the multinational force and U.S. civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer would keep the top political post, he said.

To council nations that want responsibilities in Iraq to be shared, Powell said, "With the resolution, you're essentially putting the Security Council into the game."

On Thursday, reaction from Security Council members was mixed. Hours before Schroeder and Chirac spoke, Russia sent its first signal that it might consider sending peacekeepers to Iraq as part of an international force.

"It all depends on a specific resolution. I wouldn't exclude it outright," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told the Interfax news agency.

And in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said the U.S. offer to share Iraq's postwar reconstruction was in line with the objectives of China, which has "actively participated" in the effort to increase U.N. participation.

"We have all along stood for the early restoration of stability throughout Iraq," Kong said. "We have stood for the important growth of the United Nations in this endeavor." He did not provide details.

Powell discussed the resolution Wednesday with his Russian, German and French counterparts as well as with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "We will see where we are at the beginning of (next) week and push it as aggressively as we can," he said.

Council diplomats said they would like the resolution to be adopted before ministers gather for the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23.

But some European countries are likely to resist if the United States continues to try to hold on to all the lucrative and influential ventures, such as oil contracts and the political rebuilding process, according to some council diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The postwar operation is costing the United States about $3.9 billion a month and has strained the American military, which has some 140,000 troops stationed in Iraq.

The resolution envisions a substantial infusion of international aid to defray costs now largely borne by U.S. taxpayers. At the same time, the administration is preparing a new budget request for $60 billion to $70 billion for reconstruction and the military operation of Iraq -- nearly double what Congress was expecting, The Washington Post reported.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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