Security Council Fails to Make Progress on Iraq Resolution | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 07.10.2003
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Security Council Fails to Make Progress on Iraq Resolution

The United States failed to make any headway on a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq late Monday, as several countries demanded Washington relinquish more power to the United Nations.


U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte said he needed time to "digest" the disagreement.

Despite meeting for hours to discuss a U.S. resolution that would redefine the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, the 15 member Security Council could not come to agreement after the United States dismissed radical changes to its draft.

Washington, which has had difficultly stabilizing Iraq since the war ended, would like a new resolution to pave the way for greater international involvement in peacekeeping operations and reconstruction efforts. But U.S. President George Bush has been loath to relinquish command of the Iraqi occupation to the world body that once stymied his war efforts.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte said there was no further meeting scheduled and that time was needed “to digest what had been said.” Washington would like the Security Council to sign off on a broad multinational force to ease pressure on its own troops, but nations like France and Germany want the United Nations to receive a larger political role in Iraq than the United States is willing to give.

The resolution asks both the U.N. and the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to help the hand-picked Iraqi Governing Council adopt a constitution within six months, hold elections and train civil servants. It endorses a step-by-step transfer of authority to an Iraqi interim administration, but sets no timetable but states that power would be relinquished only after an elected government is installed.

Annan’s concerns

The resolution was supported by Britain and Spain, but the majority of the Security Council members echoed the concerns of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who last week said the United Nations take no part in any political role in Iraq while coalition forces were running Iraq. Annan also proposed handing over of sovereignty to an Iraqi provisional government within five months, after which a constitution could be written and elections organized.

Germany's U.N. Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said many delegates wanted the council to take Annan's words into account. “Many delegations said this was a good basis for discussions and that we also have to take into account the views of the secretary-general,” he said, according to the Reuters news agency.

The United States delegation said it would weigh up the opinions and suggestions of the Security Council before presenting any further draft, but one French diplomat told the Associated Press that the United States did not appear ready to incorporate changes sought by France and Germany, two leading opponents of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Both countries are vocal supporters of a quick handover of power to the Iraqis.

Negroponte said the latest impasse did not signal the death of the U.S. draft resolution and that he hoped it would be adopted before an international donors conference for Iraq in Madrid later this month.

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