Annan to work for consensus on Iraq resolution

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he hopes to build a consensus quickly on the new Iraq resolution sought by the United States.

Annan is calling for a meeting in Geneva on Saturday with the foreign ministers of the Security Council's five permanent member nations -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- who all have veto power.

"If they sat and discussed frankly and openly, I think we will be able to find a solution," Annan told reporters at the United Nations.

Annan met with ambassadors from the 15-nation Security Council on Monday to discuss a document submitted by the United States that could become a draft resolution establishing more international involvement in the occupation of the turbulent country.

He also talked with the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell about an agenda for the Geneva talks.

Russia, France and Germany opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. All three nations have expressed concerns about the new U.S. draft.

The Bush administration's postwar strategy in Iraq has come under increasing fire, particularly from 2004 Democratic presidential hopefuls. Critics have said the administration was unprepared for the scope of the reconstruction effort and failed to reach out to the international community for help.

A string of car bombings in Iraq last month killed more than 100 people, including a leading Shiite Muslim cleric and the U.N. special representative for Iraq.

Bush seeks $87 billion

In part because of an ongoing guerrilla campaign, more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1 than were killed during the invasion.

Four months after that speech from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush told the American people Sunday that Iraq was the "central front" in the worldwide war on terrorism.

"We will do whatever is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our nation more secure," Bush said in the televised speech.

Bush said he would ask $87 billion for military operations and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. The funding that Bush is seeking includes about $20 billion for the next year of reconstruction in Iraq, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Monday. The rest will go to military efforts.

Bush also said Sunday that he would ask the United Nations and international community to provide military and financial support.

L. Paul Bremer, chief U.S. civil administrator for Iraq, praised the call for money, saying, "It amounts to more than 10 times more than the United States has ever spent in a year in any country, and it is a clear, dramatic illustration of the fact that the American people are going to finish the job we started when we liberated Iraq here some four months ago."

Democratic presidential candidates Monday delivered scathing reviews of President Bush's speech on Iraq, with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Sen. John Kerry accusing Bush of misleading Americans about the war