In its first resolution on Iraq since it recognized United States-led occupying forces as the provisional authority, the United Nations Security Council today formally welcomed the US-appointed Governing Council as a key step towards restoring the country’s sovereignty and set up a new mission to coordinate UN activities there.
The resolution, adopted 14-0 with one abstention – Syria – was the 15-member body’s first formal action on the Governing Council, although a member of the Iraqi council addressed it last month and Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his top envoy for Iraq have already accepted the group as a valid partner for the UN.
The new resolution said the Security Council “welcomes the establishment of the broadly representative Governing Council of Iraq on 13 July 2003, as an important step towards the formation by the people of Iraq of an internationally recognized, representative government that will exercise the sovereignty of Iraq.”
Although established by the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority, Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, told the Security Council last month: “We now have an institution that, while not democratically elected, can be viewed as broadly representative of the various constituencies in Iraq. It means that we now have a formal body of senior and distinguished Iraqi counterparts, with credibility and authority, with whom we can chart the way forward.”
Today’s resolution also set up for an initial period of 12 months the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), as requested last month by Mr. Annan in his report on the country, to coordinate the world body’s various humanitarian and other functions there. Mr. Annan called for UNAMI to have a staff of over 300, both international and local.
Today’s resolution reprised two major themes from the 22 May text, resolution 1483, reaffirming “the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Iraq and “the vital role” for the UN in Iraq.