New Iraq resolution circulated

The revised draft seeks to allay the concerns of Iraqis and fellow UN Security Council members including Russia and China.

In the previous version, only the next Iraqi government, which would enter after January elections, would have the authority to ask the force to leave.

However Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said US-led troops would have to remain for “some time” to ensure the country did not slide into chaos and violence.

The new text also says the council would in the future consider the mandate of weapons inspectors on any future visits.

China, France, Germany and Russia had all called for various changes to the text, including the use of stronger language to make clear that Iraq would have full sovereignty after the occupation formally ends on June 30.

The Security Council is to hold a weekend retreat attended by the UN’s Iraq envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who will also give a formal presentation at UN headquarters in New York next week.

The draft text comes as US President George W Bush nominated former US senator John Danforth as the new US ambassador to the United Nations.

Mr Danforth would replace John Negroponte, recently nominated as US ambassador to Iraq, and his nomination is subject to Senate approval.

Meanwhile, five US soldiers have been killed in Iraq during fighting in a Baghdad neighbourhood.

Five others were wounded when an explosion ripped through a Humvee armoured vehicle in the city’s east.

This comes as US and coalition agreed to curtail some patrols in the volatile cities of Kufa and Najaf, where they have been battling militia loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for weeks.

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