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U.S. Introduces Resolution on Iraq in U.N. Security Council

United Nations -- The United States and United Kingdom introduced a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council May 24 that would endorse the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to an Iraqi interim government and provide for a multinational security force to remain in the country after June 30.

The resolution, according to U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham, "represents a new beginning for Iraq and marks a new phase in which Iraqis themselves will elect a government and write a new constitution. This resolution looks forward to the end of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the occupation and a leading role for the United Nations in Iraq."

The resolution has several elements, Cunningham said after a private council meeting. "It endorses the formation of a sovereign Iraqi government by June 30 and makes clear the Iraqis will be in charge of their own country, their own resources including oil revenues."

"It provides for a leading role for the United Nations in the political process and endorses the political transition timetable. It provides for security to ensure the political process can go forward with the multinational force in partnership with the new interim government and with the approval of the sovereign government of Iraq, and calls on the international community to aid Iraq, assisting in the country's transition," the ambassador said.

The resolution makes clear that the multinational force will be reviewed after 12 months or at the request of the transitional government. It also emphasizes the importance of the consent of the sovereign government of Iraq to the presence of the multinational force, he said. "The multination force will be there with the agreement of the sovereign government of Iraq."

The resolution attempts to deal with "a new relationship -- which is a sovereign government and the creation of their own decision-making process and how they are going to solve some of these issues," the U.S. ambassador said.

"The important thing is that the political responsibility for taking decisions for the presence of the multinational force, for the development of a constitution, for the development of a political process is going into Iraqi hands. It is not the Security Council telling them how to do it; it's for them. It's their process," he said.

Cunningham and British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said that comments from other council members showed there was a convergence of views on the substance of the draft, but there was still much work to be done on the language. Cunningham and Parry said the new resolution will take into consideration the report from U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is now in Iraq working to help the Iraqis form an interim government, and the views of the interim government on the multinational force.

The text was prepared after the two delegations talked informally with other members of the council for several weeks.

"We're looking for ways, comments on how to improve the text," Cunningham said. "This is the first time we have actually discussed the text. The role of the police and the role of the (multinational force) and the mandate ... are issues we'll work through" in the coming weeks.

Chilean Ambassador Heraldo Munoz said that by the time the resolution is ready to be put to a vote, he expects all 15 council members will agree on the final text, "but we are going to have to work hard to get the consensus because there are a lot of differences."

"We have to be very clear about giving a political signal that a new phase is beginning on the 30th of June with a truly sovereign government. That is the key and the Iraqi people must believe that this is so," Munoz said. "Thus we have to improve the language perhaps in regard to the multinational force, with regard to the tasks of the United Nations ... and other aspects that we feel need to be clarified."

According to the agreed upon timetable, an interim government of Iraq will assume authority from the CPA on June 30, convene a national conference, and hold democratic elections no later than January 31, 2005 to select a transitional national assembly.

The draft resolution "endorses the formation of a sovereign interim government that will take office by June 30" and the proposed timetable for Iraq's political transition to democratic government. It decides that the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) will help Iraq convene a national conference; hold elections; draft a national constitution; "as circumstances permit," advise on the development of civil and social services; help coordinate reconstruction, development, and humanitarian assistance; and promote the protection of human rights and judicial and legal reform.

According to the draft text, the multinational force "shall have authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq including by preventing and deterring terrorism" so that the "Iraqi people can implement freely and without intimidation the timetable and program for the political process and benefit from reconstruction and rehabilitation activities." The force also will help build the Iraqi security forces.

The force's mandate will be reviewed in 12 months "or at the request of the transitional government of Iraq," the draft resolution says.

The resolution also provides that with the dissolution of the CPA, the Development Fund for Iraq, including the proceeds from oil and gas sales, will revert to the control of the interim government as will all the obligations of the Oil-for-Food Program.


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