UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- More countries on Wednesday lined up against war with Iraq as the United States and Britain struggled to find support for a new Security Council resolution authorizing force against Saddam Hussein.
The overwhelming opposition to the Bush administration's policies on Iraq - voiced in the Security Council and in the streets of world capitals over the weekend - set back plans for the introduction of a new resolution Wednesday, U.S. and British diplomats said.
The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the very substance of the resolution - envisioned just one week ago as a short and tough text - had yet to be agreed upon between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"In light of the circumstances, Washington is trying to be more creative," one diplomat said.
Diplomats said there was still a chance a draft resolution could be circulated by the end of the week but acknowledged they may need more time to decide whether the declaration would include a general ultimatum or set a deadline for Saddam to comply with a set of specific measures. "All options are on the table," a U.S. diplomat said.
At the United Nations, a second day of open debate in the Security Council got underway with early speeches from Qatar - a key U.S. ally which is hosting troops on three military bases.
"The state of Qatar supports all efforts to achieve a peaceful solution that would save Iraq and its population the devastation of a new war since Iraq has suffered enough from a series of wars," Qatari Ambassador Nassir al-Nasser said.
Egyptian Ambassador Ahmed Aboul Gheit said war would be disastrous for the entire region.
Bush said in Washington Tuesday that discussions on a new resolution were underway, but U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the United States would wait until after the open debate concluded before deciding on "the timing and the precise contents" of a resolution.
Negroponte said the United States had not made a final decision to introduce a second resolution though he expected an announcement "quite shortly."
British diplomats, however, said they were determined to fight for a new resolution, partly to counter strong public opposition to military action launched without U.N. authorization.
Bush said a weekend of anti-war demonstrations were irrelevant to his duty to protect America.
"The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security - in this case - security of the people," he said. "Some in the world don't view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace," he added. "I respectfully disagree."
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking in Rome Wednesday, said the world "should exhaust all other possibilities for a peaceful settlement before war is ever contemplated. And even then, it should only be contemplated when the alternative is obviously worse."
Over nearly four hours Tuesday, a parade of ambassadors spoke out during an open debate in the Security Council in favor of disarming Iraq through continued weapons inspections, not war.
Only Australia and Japan supported Washington and London in seeking a quick new Security Council resolution to confront Iraq. Peru and Argentina mentioned the possible use of force if Iraq does not comply.
A total of 56 ambassadors signed up to speak during the two-day open meeting, which was designed mostly to voice opposition to war with Iraq.
Australian Ambassador John Dauth said: "the council should move quickly to consider a further resolution that deals decisively with Iraq's failure to comply." Australia has sent 2,000 military personnel to the region to prepare for war but has not decided whether to join a U.S.-led strike without a U.N. mandate.
Baghdad's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Al-Douri, joined the debate and accused the United States of trying to get rid of Saddam "and impose the American hegemony on the region and its resources as a first step toward world domination through the use of force."
"We call upon all countries of the world to heed the call of the millions of people the world over who during the last few days rejected any aggression or threat of war against Iraq," he said, referring to the massive anti-war protests.