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France, Germany, Russia Offer Anti-War Proposal

France, Germany and Russia submitted a proposal Monday in the United Nations for step-by-step disarmament of Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac announced, part of a European drive to counter U.S. pressure for military action.

"The aim is to establish a timetable for Iraq's disarmament, program by program, relating to weapons of mass destruction," Chirac told reporters before talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

"In this context, we see no reason to change our logic, which is the logic of peace, and turn toward a logic of war," Chirac said.

Both leaders said peaceful disarmament had not been exhausted fully, and said Iraq must be pressed to cooperate.

"Iraq must disarm, must destroy its weapons of mass destruction. This goal can be achieved peacefully, through inspections," Chirac said.

Seeking U.N. approval for military action against Iraq, the United States, Britain and Spain will introduce a resolution on Monday declaring that Saddam Hussein has failed to take advantage of the final opportunity to disarm peacefully, U.N. diplomats said.

The new U.N. resolution, which follows one approved Nov. 8, says Iraq will face "serious consequences" if it does not obey U.N. orders to disarm and will refer to Iraq's failure to meet its U.N. obligations, the diplomats said.

But Chirac noted the Security Council already has passed a resolution demanding Iraq's disarmament, making another resolution unnecessary.

"You will understand that in this context we are not in favor of a new resolution," Chirac said.

Schroeder said earlier Monday he still believes no new resolution is necessary "at this time," because the current Resolution 1441 on Iraq offers "enough possibilities" to strengthen weapons inspections.

The leaders did not elaborate on the new proposal.

Over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Paris wants to step up the pressure by proposing a schedule for Iraq to follow through on disarmament demands. He said France would submit the plan as a memorandum to the Security Council.

In a divided Europe, France and Germany -- which currently chairs the Security Council -- are the key powers resisting war. Both are urging more time for strengthened U.N. weapons inspections and oppose a new U.N. resolution.

The United States needs support from at least nine of the 15 council members to win approval for a resolution, providing France, Russia or China do not cast a veto. Britain and the United States also have veto power.