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Washington Wants German Support for Iraq UN Resolution

In an effort to win support for his U.N. Iraq resolution, President George W. Bush called up the German Chancellor on Monday, asking for his help in the Security Council.

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Hello, Gerhard, this is George W.

Germany, together with France and Russia, has supported an effort by China to make substantive changes to the U.S.-British resolution on the transfer of power to an Iraqi government. The four countries sit in the U.N. Security Council, but only France, Russia and China have veto powers over resolutions.

The current resolution endorses the Iraqi government which will take over power from the Coalition Provisional Authority on June 30, but allows coalition troops to retain military authority. The American ambassador to the U.N., John Negroponte, has welcomed comments, but says the resolution just needs a little "fine-tuning."

More power to Iraqi police, army

China, Russia, Germany and France, on the other hand, view the current resolution only as a good first step.

The four war opponents want the new Iraqi government to have more sovereignty and the creation of an independent Iraqi police and army. Their proposed revisions would allow the new government veto power over any military action by coalition forces, except in cases of self-defense. Washington has said it is strongly against such a proposal.

A senior administration official in Washington did, however, tell Reuters wire service that Bush was open to allowing the Security Council to review the mandate for the U.S.-led troops in Iraq in less than a year.

Looking for more peacekeepers

Whether those troops will get help from NATO is likely to be answered at a summit in Istanbul later this month. NATO member Germany has ruled out sending its own troops to Iraq, but said it would not be against such a mandate. The United States and Britain, whose militaries have been stretched in Iraq, have campaigned heavily for a NATO peacekeeping role in Iraq.

On Monday, the Czech Republic became the second European nation after Spain to announce it was withdrawing its troops from Iraq. The Czech government said 80 military police stationed near Basra would be pulled out at the beginning of 2005. Poland, which is leading a multinational force of soldiers responsible for the southern half of Iraq, is ready to cut its troop presence from 2,400 soldiers at the beginning of next year as well.

Ukraine, on the other hand, announced earlier this month that it would increase the size of its troop deployment in Iraq by 176 soldiers to 1,722 in July.

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