UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) warned Friday that the U.S. campaign to persuade more countries to send troops to Iraq will fail unless the United States agrees to a U.N.-authorized force that shares decision-making with coalition forces.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) came to the United Nations (search) on Thursday to launch the campaign, calling on member states "to do more" to help Iraq. But he made clear that Washington won't cede any military power as France and other nations have demanded.
Without U.S. agreement on a broader international role in Iraq, diplomats said the United States faces an uphill struggle to win support for a new U.N. resolution in a Security Council (search) still bitterly divided over Washington's decision to launch a war without U.N. approval.
But following this week's deadly bombing of the U.N. compound in Baghdad, which killed over 20 people and injured at least 100, Annan said there was an urgent need to strengthen U.N. security in Iraq and around the world "that none of us can ignore."
He said he discussed prospects for a multinational force that would be responsible, among other things, for U.N. security with Powell on Thursday, and with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (search) on Friday.
Talks with both ministers also focused on internationalizing the U.S.-British occupation in Iraq, including in the economic, political, and security areas — a proposal supported by the majority of the 191 U.N. member states, which Annan said
Annan reiterated the United Nations could not send a peacekeeping force to Iraq "but it is not excluded that the council may decide to transform the operation into a U.N.-mandated multinational force operating on the ground with other governments coming in."
He stressed that U.N. approval for such a force "would also imply not just burden-sharing but also sharing decision and responsibility with the others."
"If that doesn't happen, I think it's going to be very difficult to get a second resolution that will satisfy everybody," the secretary-general warned.
France, Russia, India and other countries have ruled out sending soldiers to Iraq unless a multinational force is authorized by the United Nations.
Noting the ongoing violence in Iraq, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, whose country led the opposition to the war, said in published interviews that Iraq is in a state of "decomposition" and the United States has fallen into "a logic of confrontation."
He said the international community shouldn't adjust or enlarge the U.S.-run coalition force, but instead should "put in place a genuine international force under the mandate of the United Nations" — and he indicated that France would support such a force.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov discussed Iraq Friday with de Villepin and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. They "re-emphasied the need to look for ways to reach a political settlement, relying on broad support from the Iraqi population and on active participation of the United Nations and the international community, including the Arab countries," according to a Foreign Ministry statement quoted by the Interfax news agency.
Turkey's top political and military leaders met Friday to consider a U.S. request to deploy thousands of Turkish soldiers in Iraq — a move that could make the predominantly Muslim country the third-largest foreign presence after the United States and Britain.
At the end of the 4-hour meeting, the leaders issued a vague statement, an apparent move to delay any decision as the United Nations considers a possible new mandate for troops in Iraq.
Reflecting the uneasiness of being associated with the occupying powers, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told the newspaper Milliyet that Turkish soldiers would go to help rebuild their neighboring country and "definitely will not be occupiers."
At a joint news conference after their meeting, Straw and Annan said discussions on a possible new mandate in Iraq would be the focus of upcoming, closed-door council sessions, discussions in capitals, and input from potential troop contributing countries.
The United States hasn't circulated a draft resolution, but U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte briefed the council Thursday on key elements Washington wants in a resolution — encouragement for countries to provide troops, money and help with police training.
While Straw spoke of strengthening the U.N. mandate and the role of the international community, the United States made no offer to broaden the U.N. role or relinquish any authority.
"Although people's starting positions may be different, it is possible to reach a strong consensus," Straw said.
"I think there can be unity in the council," Annan said, "but it is going to take discussions, it is going to take negotiations, it is going to take give and take."