Washington and London plan to introduce a second resolution, essentially authorising the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein, in the week following chief weapons inspector Hans Blix’s report to the UN Security Council on 7 March. White House officials have said that they are unlikely to force a UN vote unless certain of receiving the necessary nine votes in favour. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on 4 March he was ‘increasingly optimistic’ about securing the requisite number of votes. A intense round of diplomacy is being conducted to secure the support of waverers, chief among them Pakistan, Chile, Mexico, Angola, Guinea and Cameroon. France, Germany and Russia have all restated their opposition to any resolution authorising war in recent days.