Global Policy Forum

Key Members Cool on UN Iraq Resolution


By Edith M. Lederer

Associated Press
April 15, 2004

The United States is trying to buttress its military operation in Iraq with a new U.N. resolution to provide wavering countries with political cover to make troop contributions -- but key Security Council members reacted coolly Wednesday to President Bush's suggestion.

Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Gennady Gatilov said the council needs to think of something "more substantial" to solve the crisis. Germany's U.N. Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said what's needed is a political solution, not more soldiers. France's U.N. ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said the council must wait to see what happens in Iraq before agreeing on any new resolutions.

The question of a new resolution was raised during the council's monthly lunch with Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday. Gatilov said afterwards that members want to wait to hear from U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who has been in Iraq and just made preliminary proposals for a caretaker government to take power on June 30 from the U.S.-led coalition and lead the country until elections in January. "The council members are discussing among themselves the possibility of a new Iraq resolution," Annan said. "The question is when, and its contents."

Bush was asked at his news conference Tuesday night about prospects for more countries sharing the military burden and he said he would like to get a new U.N. resolution "that will help other nations to decide to participate." The Security Council adopted a resolution on Oct. 16 authorizing "a multinational force under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq." It also urges the 191 U.N. member states to countribute "military forces to the multinational force."

Despite this U.N. mandate, the United States still has the largest share of troops in Iraq -- 135,000. Britain has about 8,000, Italy about 2,900; Poland 2,500; Ukraine 1,650 and Spain 1,300 which it says it will pull out unless they are put under the United Nations. Other countries have smaller contingents.

"What we're talking about here is why countries haven't participated in the Security Council's request for troops and support for Iraq," a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "What the president is referring to is to giving a political boost to coalition and would-be coalition members to encourage them politically to come forward and participate."

Secretary of State Colin Powell first raised the idea of a new resolution last week, saying it could extend a hand to the Iraqi transitional government after June 30, promote reconstruction, encourage other nations to get involved, and structure a role for the United Nations. "We're working on the elements of what might be in a resolution," said Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry. "The important thing is to take us through the transition, and we restore sovereignty to Iraq and the occupation ends."

"If that creates a climate where more people are prepared to come and join to help Iraq move forward, so much the better. That for all of us would be a goal well worth achieving," he told The Associated Press. Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali, the only Arab League member of the Security Council, said "it's obvious that if the U.N. takes an important lead in this regard, that will certainly encourage other countries to contribute troops."

More Information on Iraq
More Information on the UN Role in Post-War Iraq


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