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Diplomats: New Draft Resolution on Iraq Sets Election Timetable Deadline - 2003-10-14


American diplomats have informally circulated a resolution on Iraq that includes a December 15th deadline for the Iraqi Governing Council to set a timeline for the transfer of power to the Iraqis.

For the first time, the amended resolution calls for the Iraqi Governing Council to set a schedule to draft a constitution and hold elections by mid-December.

American diplomats circulated the resolution to the other 14 members of the Security Council during the weekend.

The new resolution is an attempt by the U.S. to find a compromise on the Council over the issue of when and how the Iraqis will regain sovereignty.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has said it should take six months for the Iraqis to draft a constitution, the first step toward an elected government in Baghdad. Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council have said the whole process could take two years.

Some countries, led by France and encouraged by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, have said the United States should relinquish control of Iraq more quickly. It is not clear if this compromise will satisfy critics of U.S. plans in Iraq.

Reports from Europe indicate the compromise came with the help of Britain and Spain, U-S allies in Iraq and on the Council.

The U.S. needs the full support of the Security Council to enlist more international aid to share the burden of stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq.

Analysts believe this is a final push by the United States on the resolution, which the Bush administration considered giving up on last week. Washington hopes to have a resolution before potential donors meet on October 23rd in Madrid, where the United States hopes to enlist more aid.

A U.S. official said the new resolution will be officially presented to the Security Council sometime this week.

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