UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has offered to increase personnel in Iraq for the first time in more than 3 years and is seeking $130 million to build a reinforced compound in Baghdad for the growing UN mission. Ban faces a backlash from member states afraid of inheriting a US-created disaster, while the Iraqi government is concerned that UN interference will dilute its power.
The White House in particular wants help resolving sectarian disputes. "The UN can reach out to many groups and some groups that do not want to talk to other external players," said American UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The US and Britain are pushing for a Security Council resolution tomorrow calling for reconciliation talks and international support for Iraq.