Annan expects Security Council to authorize multinational force to remain in Iraq

3 May 2004

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that he expects the Security Council to authorize a multinational force to remain in Iraq as part of a resolution that will cover the period after the return of sovereignty on 30 June, saying it was in everyone's interest to do "whatever we can" to stabilize the country.

"Obviously the new [caretaker] government would also be consulted, but there will be a resolution authorizing a multinational force and encouraging governments to come together in a genuine international effort to help stabilize Iraq," the Secretary-General said during an appearance yesterday on the television programme Meet the Press in the United States.

"Quite frankly, it's in everybody's interest that we do whatever we can to stabilize Iraq," he added.

Asked by host Tim Russert if the move would enable the United States to draw down some of its forces, Mr. Annan said: "I think it depends. If we are able to attract other governments, other countries that are now not in the theatre to deploy troops, that may be possible. But it will depend on how fast and how quickly we are able to get other governments to join and provide troops."

As to how much sovereignty the Iraqis will have after 30 June, the Secretary-General said he thought sovereignty "will be and should be" complete, but perhaps because it is supposed to be a caretaker government, the new authorities should not to take any decisions that will bind the duly elected government that is supposed to come into existence next January and therefore should not pass any long-term laws.

"We want to do everything we can to help the Iraqi people regain their sovereignty and build their state and stabilize their situation and live in peace with themselves and their neighbours. And this is why [his Special Adviser Lakhdar] Brahimi and his team is in, and they are working with the Iraqi people and the [Coalition Provisional Authority] to create a new government," he said.