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France Pledges To Back UN Resolution On Iraq

8 June 2004 -- France has said it will back a United Nations draft resolution on Iraq's future after the United States and Britain revised it to address French concerns.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said today that France, which has the power of veto on the UN Security Council and opposed the war in Iraq, will vote for the draft resolution despite not being fully satisfied with it. The draft resolution marks the planned transfer of power by the U.S.-led occupation authorities to an Iraqi interim government on 30 June.

The latest revision does not include a French proposal, which was supported by Germany, that Iraq be given a virtual veto over major U.S.-led military operations. But the new draft does call for a special committee to reach agreement on security issues, including "sensitive offensive operations."

Germany's UN ambassador, Guenter Pleuger, said yesterday his country accepted the compromise.

The U.S. and Britain have scheduled a vote later this evening in the U.N. Security Council on the measure.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte has said he expects the Security Council to approve the draft resolution.

Meanwhile, Iraqi police said a suicide car bomb exploded today outside a U.S. military base in the northeastern Iraqi town of Ba'qubah, killing four Iraqis and injuring 12 others.

The bombing was the latest in a series of attacks on U.S. forces and their allies ahead of the planned handover of power to the interim Iraqi government.

Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi yesterday announced an agreement with nine armed groups to disband their militias. The agreement would see some 100,000 militia members turn in their weapons and either reenter civilian life or join security forces by next year.

The deal does not include radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Imam Mahdi Army, which has been fighting U.S. forces in southern Iraq.

(RFE/ Reuters/AFP/AP)