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Iraq resolution fails to garner full support

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    Iraq resolution fails to garner full support http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/A5A42171-6570-4904-81A2-1CE15C900D39.htm Wednesday 02 June 2004, 9:19 Makka
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      Iraq resolution fails to garner full support

      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/A5A42171-6570-4904-81A2-1CE15C900D39.htm
      Wednesday 02 June 2004, 9:19 Makka Time, 6:19 GMT


      UN Security Council members have expressed their concern over a revised resolution on
      post-occupation Iraq circulated by the US and the UK.

      The occupying countries, who plan to relinquish some of their control over Iraq on 30 June, had
      hoped the new draft, issued on Tuesday, would address a variety of concerns raised by Security
      Council members.

      Members are worried about the new government's powers and how much say Iraqis will have over US-led
      occupation forces intended to enforce the new system.

      Two major concerns about the initial draft - the absence of a termination date for the US-led
      multinational force and the failure to state that the new Iraqi government will have authority over
      its security forces - were addressed in the new draft.

      But France, Germany and Russia, which criticised the initial draft, raised questions about the
      revised resolution during three hours of closed-door Security Council discussions, council diplomats
      said.

      Several other council members, including China, Chile and Algeria, said the new draft was an
      improvement but called for additional changes, especially in spelling out the military relationship.

      "We still need to have language that would say that the Iraqi government's point of view will
      prevail over the MNF (multinational force) in case of major military operations," said Algeria's UN
      Ambassador Abd Allah Baali, the only Arab member of the council. Chile's UN ambassador, Heraldo
      Munoz, made a similar point.

      But US Deputy Ambassador James Cunningham insisted this did not belong in the resolution. "That's
      really an issue that we need to work out with the Iraqis," he said.

      Cunningham said the US-British amendments "focus the resolution text more clearly on the objective
      that is before the council, which is to mark the end of the occupation and the restoration of full
      sovereignty to Iraq."

      Full sovereignty?

      The amendments also clarify the UN role, the duration of the multinational force, and other issues,
      he said.

      But China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said: "Full sovereignty has not been fully reflected."

      French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere also told the council that Paris would like to see the
      areas in which the interim government will exercise fully sovereignty enumerated in the resolution,
      a French diplomat reported.

      "We are not satisfied with the new version," the French diplomat said, speaking on condition of
      anonymity. "We need clarification."

      Many council members said they want to hear from UN envoy al-Akhdar al-Ibrahimi, who helped put
      together the interim government, and Iraq's new leadership. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hushiar Zibari
      was heading to New York to press for full sovereignty, and he was expected to meet the council as
      early as Thursday.

      Iraqi reaction imperative

      Before making any final decision, Algeria's Baali said the Security Council also needs to agree on
      the text and "hear the Iraqi reaction about the formation of the government" to ensure there is
      broad support, as well as the reaction of neighbouring governments.

      Cunningham said he expects council members to reflect on the amendments after Tuesday's "good
      discussion about the changes".

      "We will continue to work on the resolution text and bring it to conclusion as soon as we can," he
      said.

      The original draft resolution laid out a blueprint for a sovereign interim government in Iraq,
      endorsing the timetable for the country's transition to democratic government.

      Under the timetable, elections will be held by 31 January 2005 for a transitional national assembly,
      a constitution will be drafted and put to a vote during the year, and a new Iraqi government will be
      elected by 31 December 2005.

      The original draft said the mandate for the multinational force in Iraq would be reviewed after a
      year - or even earlier if the transitional government that takes power after January elections
      requests it.

      Clout

      That remains in the revised draft, but it also puts an expiration date on the mandate for the
      multinational force - the installation of a constitutionally elected government, which is not
      expected until December 2005 or January 2006. It also declares the council's readiness to terminate
      the mandate at the request of the transitional government.

      The new draft notes for the first time "that the presence of the multinational force in Iraq is at
      the request of the incoming interim government," but it doesn't specifically give the new leaders
      the right to ask the force to leave though US and British leaders have said they will go if asked.

      Instead, it anticipates that the incoming government will make a formal request "to retain the
      presence of the multinational force" and leaves room for the date of that letter to be included in
      the resolution.
      Agencies
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