Thu, Jul 17, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Iraq to send delegation to Security Council


Iraq's new governing council is sending a delegation to the Security Council next Tuesday, when the top UN envoy is to report on the world body's role in post-war Iraq, UN officials and council diplomats said.

The delegation will include Ahmad Chalabi, founder of the once-exiled Iraqi National Congress; former Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi and Foreign Ministry official Aqila al-Hashimi, who led Iraq's delegation to a UN-sponsored conference here last month on rebuilding the country, UN deputy spokeswoman Hua Jiang said.

Spain's UN Ambassador Inocencio Arias, the current Security Council president, said he had heard reports that the delegation's visit would coincide with the July 22 briefing by UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello.

On its first full day of business on Monday, the 25-member Iraqi governing council voted to send a delegation to the UN to assert itself as a "legitimate Iraqi body during this transitional period."

Hua said it was unclear at this stage "under what banner" the Iraqi delegation will come to the UN -- whether as part of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority or as Iraqi representatives. It will be up to council members to decide whether the delegation members can speak, she said.

Members of the Iraqi governing council told Vieira de Mello that they would be looking for UN help on a number of problems, "notably the issues of refugee return and debt relief," Hua said.

The delegation got support Tuesday from Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who said in Damascus, Syria, that representatives of the new governing council would be invited to a council meeting to help members "define the steps required by the international community in order to move forward to solve the Iraqi problem."

Some council diplomats expressed concern that the delegation might try to take Iraq's seat at the UN, a move that would be certain to spark opposition because the US and Britain remain the occupying powers and there is still no elected representative government in the country.

Iraq's UN seat remains in the hands of diplomats who served under Saddam Hussein's regime. Ever since Saddam's UN ambassador, Mohammed Al-Douri, left New York on April 11, Iraqi diplomats have kept a very low profile.

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