like the sand in the hourglass..

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    U.S. Demands Iraq Show Cooperation by the Weekend

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — Secretary of State Colin L. Powell warned today that if Saddam Hussein was still not cooperating with United Nations inspectors at the end of this week, President Bush would press immediately for consideration of a Security Council resolution authorizing possible use of force against Iraq.

    Mr. Powell's comments laid out what appeared to be an accelerating timetable in the confrontation with Iraq, even as France, Germany and other member of the Security Council continued to call for more time before considering the use of force.

    Mr. Bush and his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, also said time was running short, as the administration seemed to be setting in motion a swift showdown with France and Germany, two of the United States' closest allies. Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, said today that Moscow, too, was aligning itself with Paris and Bonn. He spoke after talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany. [Page A10.]

    A potentially divisive new element arose, meanwhile, as the commander of American forces in Europe, Gen. James L. Jones, told members of Congress of a plan under study to scale back American forces in Germany. During a briefing to a visiting Congressional delegation last week, General Jones, who also is supreme commander of NATO forces, said the plan envisioned scattering the forces to bases in several countries, those closer to the Persian Gulf.

    According to a Senate aide familiar with the briefing, the plan is still preliminary, but in the context of the United Nations deliberations, it is sure to be contentious.

    American officials say the next important day in the quickening pace of events on Iraq is this Friday, when Hans Blix and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief United Nations weapons inspectors, are to deliver an updated report on whether Iraq is cooperating with the inspections ordered by the Council in November.

    In Baghdad, Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei said today that they had made some progress in getting Iraq to cooperate on showing weapons sites but that they had no breakthrough to report. [Page A10.]

    American officials say they will be satisfied only with a complete agreement by Iraq to reveal all its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and to disarm.

    If Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei report that Mr. Hussein is still not cooperating next Friday, "then the Security Council will have to sit in session immediately and determine what should happen next," Mr. Powell said on NBC News program "Meet the Press."

    The Security Council, he added, would then have to "start considering a resolution that says Iraq is in material breach and it is time for serious consequences to follow." The phrase "serious consequences" is used by American officials to refer to military force.

    Mr. Powell dismissed reports that France and Germany, and perhaps Russia, would recommend deploying United Nations peacekeepers in Iraq along with inspectors, saying that would be pointless. The reports, first raised in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, were played down by French and German officials as well, although they said discussions were under way to seek some alternative to quick military action.

    Mr. Bush also increased pressure on the United Nations today to act on Iraq. Speaking to Republican members of Congress at a retreat in West Virginia, Mr. Bush said the American goal "over the next short period of time" would be to work with "friends and allies and the United Nations to bring that body along."

    Mr. Bush did not mention Friday as a turning point. Ms. Rice said that he had set no deadline for action by the Security Council, but that in his recent phrase, "weeks not months really means weeks not months."

    But while the main pressure exerted today was on the United Nations, Mr. Powell and others in the administration were also seeking to put pressure on France and Germany over a growing dispute within NATO on Iraq. The dispute centers on a refusal by France, Germany and Belgium to agree to Turkey's request for military equipment to prepare for a possible war.
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