Iraq rejects UN resolution

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    Iraq's Parliament has unanimously proposed the rejection of a tough UN disarmament resolution, but is leaving the final decision to President Saddam Hussein.

    Speaker Saadun Hammadi announced the result on separate shows of hands on both the rejection and the confidence in the President to make the right choice.

    The 250-member Parliament met for a second day to decide on a recommendation from its Arab and international relations committee to reject resolution 1441, despite a call from Saddam's elder son Uday to agree to the UN text.

    Mr Hammadi told the press shortly before the vote that "from what I can see, there is a unanimous position that the National Assembly cannot accept the resolution, and will reject it."

    He said the parliament must "also give the President the authority to deal with the resolution and situation as he sees it".

    MPs queued up to speak out against the UN resolution, which offers Baghdad a "last chance" to come clean on weapons of mass destruction that the regime denies possessing.

    The emergency session convened at Saddam's behest debated the committee recommendation to reject the US-drafted resolution, which warns Iraq of "serious consequences" unless it agrees to sweeping arms inspection terms.

    At the same time, the committee recommended mandating "the political leadership to do what it deems fit to defend the Iraqi people" and mandating Saddam to take the appropriate decision.

    The Parliament's vote will be submitted to the ruling Revolution Command Council (RCC) chaired by Saddam, who has until November 15 to give his verdict on the resolution.

    The Iraqi leadership is officially said to be still "thinking quietly" about what has been labeled a "bad and unfair" resolution, hinting through state-run media that it might end up accepting the harsh conditions it imposes in order to deny the United States a chance to attack.

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