Powell: Saddam Trying to Divide U.N.

Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on Wednesday of deliberately trying to divide the U.N. Security Council and "split us into arguing factions." Powell declared that the effort must fail as he prepared to cajole the council anew to back force to disarm Iraq.

Powell, who will travel to the United Nations Thursday, said that Saddam had thrown away his "one last chance" to avoid the "serious consequences" the world body had threatened last November for Iraqi failure to disarm.

Powell spoke just hours after the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia joined forces in vowing to block a U.S.-backed resolution finding Iraq in violation of its obligations and authorizing use of force to disarm Saddam.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia said Wednesday they will "not allow" passage of an American-backed U.N. resolution to authorize war against Iraq, deepening the trans-Atlantic split between Washington and two of its closest allies.

The three ministers, whose countries have led opposition to war on Iraq, held an emergency meeting in Paris. Reacting to their comments, American officials expressed confidence that Russia and France, in the end, will not veto the resolution, which could open the door for military action.