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European Press Review: U.N. Resolution a Diplomatic Victory

European editorial writers on Wednesday weighed in on the U.N. Security Council's unanimous approval of a new resolution meant to map out Iraq's political future.

America and Britain can be rightly pleased with the outcome of their diplomatic efforts at the United Nations, wrote the British daily, The Independent. It said that having failed last year to win the U.N. support they sought for invading Iraq, the allies have now got the world body’s blessing for their forces to remain there until January 2006. The paper said most Iraqis will be glad to shake off the stigma of occupation with the transfer of power at the end of this month, but added that diehard opponents of the allies will paint the shift as just a different form of American imperialism. In light of the continuing violence, the paper warned that despite one significant milestone, the allies will have to stay on maximum alert as they prepare for the next.

U.S. President George W Bush has scored a spectacular victory five months before the U.S. presidential elections, stated Sud-Ouest in France. The paper wrote that Bush managed to strike a compromise deal with the Iraq war-opponents, which proves that the diplomats under U.S. State Secretary Colin Powell won the day over Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his crew. On the other side, the paper said, Russia, France and especially Germany had to give up some of their demands so as not to worsen the already fragile state of Iraq. The paper acknowledged that the situation on the ground in Iraq remains unresolved and that no one should expect a miracle to happen with the transfer of power on June 30th.

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung was more skeptical, saying that the new resolution has a weak spot. "It dodges the most controversial issue of who will have the final say on the use of troops?" the paper noted, "What will

happen when the US wants to win back a city from local militias and the Iraqi government is opposed?" the paper asked.

The Guardian in Britain was even more dismal. It said if there were a graveyard at the United Nations it would be filled with resolutions on Iraq. The latest one could be no different to its stillborn predecessors. The paper asserted that the new resolution is unlikely to make Iraq a safer place for foreign troops to operate, nor will it alter Iraqi perceptions about the nature of the occupation.

Vienna’s Der Standard said that there was a lot of international will behind the timely passing of the Iraq resolution, and that this was a sign that nations have finally realized that "pulling in different directions wasn't helping Iraq." But the paper commented that those who had firm views going into the negotiations won't be pleased with the result. Despite the talk of Iraqi sovereignty, the paper said that Iraq won't really have the say over what foreign troops do on its soil. The paper pointed out that while the resolution promises that the U.S. will consult Iraqis about military operations, at the same time, the U.S. has the right to take "all necessary steps" to fight Iraqi insurgents.

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