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Security Council Unanimously Endorses Iraqi Interim Government

United Nations -- The Security Council June 8 recognized the restoration of full sovereignty to Iraq in a unanimous resolution marking a new political phase in the relationship between Iraq and the international community.

The resolution, sponsored by the United States, the United Kingdom and Romania, endorses the new Interim Government of Iraq which will assume authority with the end of the occupation and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) June 30, allows the multinational force (MNF) to provide security in partnership with the new government, sets out a leading role for the United Nations in helping the political process over the next year; and calls on the international community to aid Iraq in its transition.

The vote came one week after the formation of the new Interim Government of Iraq with the help of U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte said that the vote acknowledges "an important milestone: by June 30, Iraq will reassert its sovereignty, a step forward on the path to a democratically elected government."

"The unanimous passage of resolution 1546 is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for 'a federal, democratic, pluralist, and unified Iraq in which there is full respect for political and human rights,'" the ambassador said, quoting from the resolution.

"This resolution makes clear that Iraq's sovereignty will be undiluted and that the government of Iraq will have the sovereign authority to request and to decline assistance -- including in the security sector. The government of Iraq will have the final say on the presence of the multinational force," said Negroponte, who is the U.S. ambassador-designate to Iraq.

With the new resolution, "the international community has a renewed opportunity to help the people of Iraq and their sovereign government undeterred by Saddam Hussein's legacy of many years of oppression and war," he said.

"The Iraqi people are determined to create a new reality. International assistance can and should enhance their prospects for success," Negroponte said. "Member states should not delay in matching advice with concrete assistance."

In his remarks to the council, the ambassador also noted that the constructive dialogue through which the resolution was developed and which lead to the unanimous vote "should mark strengthened international resolve to work together for a democratic, secure, and prosperous Iraq and for the lasting and permanent benefit of its people."

The resolution endorses the formation of the sovereign Interim Government of Iraq and the proposed timetable for Iraq's political transition to democratic government, a process which will culminate in elections for a new government in December 2005.

It takes note that the multinational force is in Iraq at the request of the interim government and says that the MNF "shall have the authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq" in accordance with the letters sent to the council
-- and annexed to the resolution -- by the prime minister of Iraq and the U.S. secretary of state which outline the "security partnership" between the Iraqi government and the force.

Negroponte said, "the annexed letters from Prime Minister Allawi and Secretary Powell describe the security partnership that is being put into place between the sovereign government of Iraq and the multinational force."

The resolution also addresses the current security reality and affirms the security structures and mechanisms warranted at this time, the U.S. ambassador said.

According to the letters, the Iraqi security forces are responsible to the appropriate Iraqi ministers and the Iraqi government has the authority to commit Iraqi security forces to the MNF for operations. The letters also outline the fora for Iraq and the MNF to reach agreement as partners "on the full range of fundamental security and policy issues, including policy on sensitive offensive operations."

In his letter, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the MNF intends to establish a brigade-size force within the MNF specifically to provide security for U.N. personnel and facilities, including convoy escort duties.

"The MNF is prepared to continue to pursue its current efforts to assist in providing a secure environment in which the broader international community is able to fulfill its important role in facilitating Iraq's reconstruction," Powell said. "In meeting these responsibilities in the period ahead, we will act in full recognition of and respect for Iraqi sovereignty."

The MNF mandate will be reviewed at the request of Iraq or in twelve months. The mandate will expire at the end of December 2005 with the democratic election of a new government or earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq, according to the resolution.

The resolution emphasizes the importance of developing effective police, border enforcement and a "facilities protection service" under Iraqi control and asks U.N. member states and international organizations to help the government build those institutions.

The resolution recognizes that Iraq will manage its own financial and natural resources; have the authority to disburse funds in the Development Fund for Iraq; will assume the rights, responsibilities and obligations relating to the oil-for-food program; and have authority over the Iraqi security forces and police.

Setting out a role for the United Nations, the resolution said that "as circumstances permit" the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) shall play a leading role in helping Iraq convene a national conference in July 2004 to select a consultative council; hold elections by January 2005; promote national dialogue on the drafting of a national constitution; and help with the coordination and delivery of reconstruction, development and humanitarian assistance.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed the resolution as well as the fact that it had been adopted unanimously and developed in consultation with the new Iraqi Interim Government.

"I believe it is a genuine expression of the will of the international community, led by the Security Council, to come together again after last year's divisions and to help the Iraqi people take charge of their own political destiny, in peace and freedom, under a sovereign government of their choosing," Annan said after the vote.

The secretary general said that he hoped to name a special representative to head U.N. operations in Iraq soon. He added that he is monitoring the security situation closely in order to determine when the security situation is such that U.N. workers can return to Iraq.

"I also believe that the overwhelming majority of people both inside and outside Iraq will want the interim government to have a fair chance, and will judge it on its performance," Annan said. "A great deal is riding on its success, and we should all give it whatever help we can."


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