UNITED NATIONS -- The United States intensified efforts to win over Russian and French support for a toughly-worded U.N. resolution on Iraq but Secretary of State Powell said Thursday he "was a long way from getting an agreement."
The state department dispatched Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman to Moscow and Paris Thursday to help sell the U.S. plan for a resolution that would lay out a tighter timetable for Iraqi compliance with weapons inspections and authorize force if President Saddam Hussein fails to do so.
In a sign of U.S.-British agreement on the direction of a resolution, Grossman will be accompanied by a British diplomat whom state department officials wouldn't identify.
"We are a long way from getting an agreement but we are working hard," Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington.
The United States had hoped to push through the resolution by Monday, Sept. 30, when chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is scheduled to meet with Iraqi experts in Vienna to finalize plans for the inspectors' return.
But interagency wrangling in Washington and the continued opposition of some allies has delayed a draft from reaching the Security Council, diplomats said.
Officials said discussions would continue in the coming days, toward a resolution. that would recognize Iraq's repeated violations, identify steps that Iraq needs to take to rectify those violations and make clear what will happen if Iraq again fails to comply.
Powell stressed any resolution "must determine what consequences" there will be for Iraq if it fails to disarm and comply.
But Russia, France and Arab countries don't want a resolution threatening force before inspectors can get back inside Iraq.