Bush will ask for help to govern Iraq in UN address

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The Independent US

One year after he told the United Nations he was prepared to go it alone in Iraq if necessary, President George Bush will return to the UN General Assembly tomorrow to appeal for international help to meet the mounting human and financial cost of maintaining a post-war occupation force.

Mr Bush's cap-in-hand gesture seems unlikely to be accompanied by much humility, however, as the prevailing rhetoric in the United States continues to blast the French for obstructionism and suggests that there is nothing wrong with international co-operation being conducted entirely on American terms.

American officials are furious with France for blocking a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that could have opened the way to greater international participation in Iraq.

Last week, theNew York Times columnist Thomas Friedman denounced France as "the enemy" for insisting on a speedy return to Iraqi self-rule.

And yesterday Joe Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advised President Bush to "outsmart" the French by leaving the timetable for a return to Iraqi sovereignty up to the Security Council itself.

A lone voice of dissent has come from Ted Kennedy, the liberal Massachussetts Senator, who has accused the administration of trying to bribe foreign countries.

He pointed to US approval of an $8.5bn (£5.2bn) loan to Turkey, saying this was probably a quid pro quo for the dispatch of Turkish troops to Baghdad.

He pointed also to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office showing that the Bush administration can account for only $2.5bn of the monthly $4bn being budgeted for Iraq.

"My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops," said the Massachussetts senator.

A White House spokesman dismissed his allegations as "political rhetoric that have no basis in fact".