"The proposal is not going to be acceptable to anybody," says TIME UN correspondent Bill Dowell. "The Iraqis know it." The Iraqi aim, says Dowell, is too create divisions in the Security Council that might stave off an attack. "There is strong resistance in the Security Council to Saddam thumbing his nose at the UN but less interest in going in militarily." Russia and China are against air strikes and France has voiced its displeasure with the military option.
Predictably, Washington scorned the proposal. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said Washington would settle for nothing less than full compliance with UN resolutions which call for unrestricted access to all suspected weapons sites. "The main point is that the Iraqis cannot be allowed to define the group doing the inspections," says Dowell. "Then they start to take over the inspection process. Washington is saying it wants 100% compliance, or else."