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Europe

"Old Europe" Endorses Iraq Resolution, Says No to Troops, Money

The Security Council demonstrated a united front on Thursday when all 15 members voted "yes" to a U.S.-drafted resolution on Iraq's future. But Germany, France and Russia still won't send troops or more money.

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The last four dissenters came around to the "yes" side shortly before the vote.

The outcome of the vote was apparent hours ahead, when Chancellor Gerhard Schröder announced that Germany, France and Russia would indeed support the controversial draft resolution. Despite expectations, in the end even Syria concurred.

The resolution calls for the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, along with the U.S.-led occupation authority and a U.N. representative, to devise a timetable for elections and a constitution by December 15. It also creates a mandate for multinational troops under U.S.-command in Iraq and calls on the international community to financially support Iraqi reconstruction.

A common objective

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan praised the resolution, which was co-sponsored by Britain, Spain and Cameroon. "Our common objective is to restore peace and stability to a sovereign, democratic and independent Iraq as quickly as possible ," he said.

Unanimity appears to have come only thanks to that "common objective."

Germany, France and Russia, who vehemently opposed the Iraq war, have criticized past resolution drafts. The three countries have called for the United Nations to be given a central role in postwar Iraq, including taking part in organizing elections and drafting a constitution, and for a provisional government to be created within months.

The French ambassador to the U.N. said that the three countries had decided to say "yes" to the resolution because they thought a united front in the Security Council was necessary to promote stability, the restoration of sovereignty and political and economic reconstruction in Iraq.

Earlier in the day Chancellor Schröder explained that he and his French and Russian colleagues had recognized the resolution was " a very important step in the right direction." He said the three countries would vote "yes" despite the reservations they still had.

U.S. hopes for more assistance

While the United States is hopeful that other countries will provide more funds for Iraqi reconstruction and soldiers for the multinational force in Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell said he didn't expect any major financial contributions from Germany, France or Russia.

Both Germany and France have repeatedly emphasized that they will neither send troops to Iraq nor will they provide more money for reconstruction. The two have ruled out the possibility of contributing soldiers to the multinational force in Iraq as well as limited their financial participation to the €200 million ($234 million) of European Union aid that is going to Iraq, of which German is footing around €50 million.

A donors conference will take place on Oct. 23 in Madrid to raise funds for the devastated country.

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