Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 1 News List

US wins Security Council resolution for aid in Iraq

EUROPEAN SUPPORT Germany, France and Russia all voted for the proposal, despite Washington's continued refusal to include a timetable for the transfer of power


In a victory for the US, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday aimed at attracting more troops and money to stabilize Iraq and put the war-battered country on the road to independence.

Only Wednesday, some US officials were concerned that after six weeks of intense US diplomatic campaigning, the resolution might get only the minimum nine "yes" votes needed for adoption.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said yesterday that Germany, France and Russia -- Europe's leading opponents to the US-led war in Iraq -- would vote in favor of the UN resolution on Iraq.

The decision was made during a 45-minute conference call with Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Schroeder said. The vote had been delayed so the three leaders could discuss whether to back the resolution following Washington's refusal to support their key demand that it include a timetable to transfer power to Iraqis.

"We agreed that the resolution is really an important step in the right direction," he said.

Putin told reporters at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit he is attending in Malaysia that the three leaders had "coordinated our common position and we believe that today our ambassadors in New York will disclose this decision."

US officials had said they expected Russia to vote "yes" yesterday, and probably Germany as well, and they weren't ruling out approval by France, the most outspoken critic of Washington's Iraq policies.

China also indicated it might support the resolution.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell launched a final diplomatic offensive Wednesday to win broad support for the resolution, talking by telephone to the presidents of Pakistan and Angola, the foreign ministers of China, Russia and Britain and twice to his French counterpart, Dominique de Villepin.

Council diplomats said the US agreed to delay the vote after Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov spoke again Wednesday night.

"A great deal of progress has been made over the last 24 hours, and especially today," Powell told reporters in Washington. "I think that we will have a successful vote on the resolution."

While the UN Security Council remains divided on how fast to transfer power to Iraqis and who should oversee Iraq's political transition from a dictatorship to a democracy, its 15 members have appeared to be willing to compromise to send a more united message on the importance of returning an independent Iraq to the family of nations.

Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram, whose country was considered a swing vote, announced support for the US draft "despite some reservations on certain provisions." He cited as positive its goals of restoring Iraqi sovereignty, improving security and promoting reconstruction.

After rejecting the French-Russian-German demand for a timetable, the US honed in on Russia in its search for votes. Moscow has taken a more moderate position than France and Germany.

Council diplomats said Washington asked what Moscow wanted and it submitted three ideas Wednesday morning. Less than 12 hours later they were accepted "99 percent by the sponsors" and were included in a fifth draft of the resolution, said Russia's UN Ambassador Sergey Lavrov.

The amendments would give UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan greater scope to participate in the drafting of a new Iraqi constitution and the political transition, and would state for the first time that the mandate of the multinational force authorized by the resolution would expire when an Iraqi government is elected.

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