(From Agence France Presse)
The United States, Britain and Spain dramatically withdrew their draft resolution seeking UN backing for war on Iraq, closing the diplomatic window for disarmament and setting the stage to launch unilateral strikes on Baghdad.
Announcing the move, Britain's UN ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said "the co-sponors reserve their right to take their own steps to secure the disarmament of Iraq," with war now looking imminent.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair was rocked Monday by news of the resignation of Labour MP House of Commons leader Robin Cook, who served as Foreign Secretary in the early Blair administration.
US President George W. Bush was to later to address the nation, with Washington saying the only way Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could avoid war would be to step down.
"To avoid a military conflict, Saddam Hussein has no other choice than to leave the country," something the Iraqi leader has ruled out, vowing to die in his homeland, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.
"The diplomatic window is now …