White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the president is continuing to consult with allies on the "timing and wording" of a second UN resolution. He says the measure will be introduced either this week or next regardless of the opposition it may face in the Security Council.
Mr. Fleischer said, "The president has made repeatedly clear that the preferable outcome is for the United Nations to act. If the United Nations Security Council fails to act, the president, along with a coalition of the willing, will enforce resolution 14-41 by disarming Saddam Hussein."
France, Russia, and China all have veto power on the Security Council and all say weapons inspectors should have more time before the UN authorizes the use of force.
Earlier this month, French President Jacques Chirac said he would decide whether to use the veto when the question is raised, taking into account what he called "the circumstances of the moment."
Mr. Fleischer says additional Security Council action on Iraq would be "welcome," but "not mandatory" before the use of force. He says it is a question of UN credibility in the face of a country that has defied more than a decade of resolutions demanding that it give-up suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
Mr. Fleischer said, "If the United Nations Security Council does not choose to do anything other than have prolonged inspections after it has been demonstrably proven that Iraq is in possession of prohibited weapons, then you have to ask yourself what is the purpose of having the United Nations Security Council pass resolution after resolution prohibiting the possession of such weapons."
No matter how France votes on the expected U.S. resolution, Mr. Fleischer says he is confident that "good relations" between President Bush and President Chirac will remain.