After weeks of intensive negotiations, the United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted a new resolution outlining the roles of the United Nations, the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Iraqi Governing Council in international efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq.
The resolution, sponsored by Cameroon, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, recognizes the "temporary nature" of the power exercised by the CPA and says that the 25-member Iraqi Council and its ministers "are the principal bodies of the Iraqi interim administration, which…embodies the sovereignty of the State of Iraq during the transitional period until an internationally recognized, representative government is established and assumes the responsibilities of the Authority."
The text also says that the UN "should strengthen its vital role in Iraq" including by providing humanitarian relief and "advancing efforts to restore and establish national and local institutions for representative government."
Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the unanimous vote as "a clear demonstration of the will of all the members of the Security Council to place the interests of the Iraqi people above all other considerations."
In a statement to the Council directly after the vote, Mr. Annan said: "I shall do my utmost to implement the mandate established by the Council, bearing in mind the constraints on building up the required capacity and my obligation to care for the safety and security of United Nations staff. I am grateful to the Council for the flexibility that the new resolution gives me in this respect."
The resolution adopted today "authorizes a multinational force under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq, including for the purpose of ensuring necessary conditions for the implementation of the timetable and programme as well as to contribute to the security of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, the Governing Council of Iraq and other institutions of the Iraqi interim administration, and key humanitarian and economic infrastructure."
In the resolution, the Council takes note of the intention of the Iraqi Council "to hold a constitutional conference and, recognizing that the convening of the conference will be a milestone in the movement to the full exercise of sovereignty, calls for its preparation through national dialogue and consensus-building as soon as practicable and requests the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, at the time of the convening of the conference or, as circumstances permit, to lend the unique expertise of the United Nations to the Iraqi people in this process of political transition, including the establishment of electoral processes."
The Council also calls on the CPA "to return governing responsibilities and authorities to the people of Iraq as soon as practicable and requests the Authority, in cooperation as appropriate with the Governing Council and the Secretary-General, to report to the Council on the progress being made."
The resolution also supports the Governing Council's efforts to lead a process in which the Iraqi people "progressively take control of their own affairs," and invites it to present by 15 December a timetable for the drafting of a new constitution, and the holding of democratic elections under that constitution.
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