The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United States-led multinational force (MNF) in Iraq by another year, until the end of 2008, after a formal request from the Government of the Middle East country.
The 15-member body unanimously approved the renewal in a resolution in which it noted that the MNF’s mandate can be terminated earlier if desired by the Iraqi Government.
In his letter to the Council asking for a mandate extension, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki noted that the MNF had “made an important and significant contribution to efforts to establish security and the rule of law” in the violence-wracked nation, and had helped strengthen the capacity of the national army and security forces.
Mr. al-Maliki noted that his country’s forces have now taken over the MNF’s security functions in eight governorates and that he expected that this would be the last time the Government would be asking the Council for a mandate renewal of the MNF.
“It is our intention that our national forces will continue to take over those security functions until all 18 governorates are under the full security control of our troops in 2008,” he wrote.
The Iraqi Government has control of recruiting, training, arming and equipping the national army and security forces, while MNF will provide support and backing to those forces.
Iraq will also be responsible for the tasks of arrests, detention and imprisonment. When these actions are carried out by the MNF, “there will be maximum levels of coordination, cooperation and understanding with the Government of Iraq.”
In a separate letter to the Council, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged that the MNF was ready to perform the tasks required of it and also “committed to acting consistently with their obligations and rights under international law, including the law of armed conflict.”