The White House says there will be a UN vote on Iraq this week, it just will not happen today. As the US and Britain try to convince undecided security council members to support a second resolution authorizing war against Saddam Hussein.
President Bush continues his telephone diplomacy today, fighting an uphill battle to win backing at the United Nations for possible military action against Iraq. So far, the US and British proposal, which sets a March 17th deadline for Saddam Hussein to disarm or else, lacks the nine votes needed for security council approval. France and Russia are threatening vetoes, a move British Prime Minister, Tony Blair warns could destroy the Transatlantic Alliance.
"Dividing Europe from America, an alliance that has served us well for over half a century, I think would be a very, very dangerous thing to do." Blair also says a veto would send the wrong message to Saddam. "The message that sends to Saddam is: you're off the hook. And, I think that would be very unfortunate."
President Bush is insisting on a vote to help Blair at home and to get security council members on the record with their stand on Saddam, a move former UN chief inspector of nuclear weapons, David Kay, says is risky. "They're saying they need a vote even if they lose on a veto because they want to have a moral majority, implication is if you don't get it, you don't have a moral majority and you don't have moral authority."
The US and Britain are indicating a willingness to make some changes to the second resolution to win support, including setting disarmament benchmarks for Iraq to meet to avoid war.