UNITED NATIONS – U.S. and British diplomats began considering options for a new U.N. resolution Friday, including one that would give Saddam Hussein a brief window to relinquish power to avoid a war, diplomats told The Associated Press.
One idea being floated would threaten war unless Saddam removes himself from power or is removed by his own people by a certain deadline, possibly 48 hours, according to Security Council diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity.
It’s unlikely that this option would win enough support but it might be presented as a tough starting position that the United States and Britain could later soften.
Other options included a resolution that would note negative findings from the weapons inspectors; reiterate that Iraq was in violation of its obligations; and remind Saddam that he faces “serious consequences.” That option, while not explicitly authorizing force, could garner wide support because all 15 council members would be eager to back the inspectors and keep up the pressure on Iraq to comply.
But a British diplomat said the resolution, which would be offered after the inspectors deliver their next assessments on Feb. 14, will need to authorize force in some way. “That’s our red line,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.