US likely to abstain when UN condemns Israel

The war of words over Israel's raid on the Iraqi nuclear facility is nearing an end here in the Security Council. At time of writing, highly reliable diplomatic sources were expecting a compromise solution to be accepted both by Iraq and by the Western powers in the Council -- the United States, Britain, and France. More behind-the-scenes bargaining was expected between the various parties, but a resolution was thought almost certain to be adopted by the Council before the end of the week.

According to these sources it will contain four elements:

* A severe condemnation of Israel.

* An acknowledgement of every country's commitment to peaceful technological nuclear development.

* A demand that Israel pay damage reparations to Iraq.

* A strong recommendation to all member states to refrain from assisting Israel in carrying out aggressive policies.

The US reportedly has agreed to abstain while all the other members of the Council will vote for the resolution, thus assuring its passage.

Iraq's concession to the West, in exchange for a strongly worded rebuke to Israel, is to forego any linkage of the resolution to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter which makes sanctions against a member state mandatory. Israel gets off the hook in the sense that no concrete steps such as an embargo will foll ow suit.

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