The UN Security Council met last night to agree on a revised plan for sanctions against Iraq, amid controversy overU.S. threats to attack Iraq as part of the so-called war on terrorism.
Russia, which has previously blocked British and U.S. proposals for what U.S. officials call "smart" sanctionsagainst Iraq, backed a compromise deal under which a new list of the items controlled by sanctions will take effectin June. In the meantime, existing sanctions will continue.
The Iraqi government, meanwhile, rejected a demand from President Bush to allow United Nations weapons inspectorsback into the country as long as economic sanctions remain in place.
The prospect of US attacks against Iraq was heightened Monday after Bush said the US would expand the so-called waron terrorism to include nations that "develop weapons of mass destruction that will be used to terrorize nations."Hawkish Bush Administration officials and even some Democrats have called for the US move on to Iraq afterAfghanistan, saying the country is linked to the September 11 attacks, to recent bio terror attacks, or to terrorismmore generally.
Asked specifically whether the United States would invade Iraq if it continued to deny access to internationalweapons inspectors, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said: "The president left that for Saddam Hussein to figureout."
Colin Powell played down talk of attacking Iraq in the immediate future, after remarks by President Bush aboutpossible military action sparked widespread concern among US allies and condemnation in the Muslim world.
- Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, resigned three years ago in protest.