Global Policy Forum

Four Nations Seek Iraq Resolution Changes


By Edith M. Lederer

Associated Press
May 26, 2004

Four key nations proposed major changes Wednesday to the U.S.-British draft resolution on Iraq, moves that would give the new Iraqi government the right to decide whether the multinational force remains in the country while limiting the force's mandate to January 2005. A three-page proposal by China - which diplomats said was supported by Russia, France and Germany - would give the interim government that takes over on June 30 greater authority than the resolution introduced to the U.N. Security Council on Monday by Britain and the United States.

The proposal, obtained by The Associated Press, was submitted to council members Wednesday afternoon during a closed-door discussion of the U.S.-British draft. It would give the interim government control of the Iraqi army and police force and require the multinational force to "consult with the interim government in respect of military actions except for self-defense." These issues are not mentioned in the U.S.-British draft.

The amendment would also determine "that the interim government of Iraq shall exercise full sovereignty, in the political, economic, security, judicial and diplomatic areas, including the power to control and dispose all the natural and economic resources, sign economic cooperation agreements and contracts, and enjoy judicial independence and the power to administer prisons in Iraq."

The U.S.-British draft endorses the formation of a sovereign interim Iraqi government that will "assume the responsibility and authority" for governing the country by June 30, but doesn't spell out its powers. It also makes no mention of the control of prisons, a highly sensitive issue following revelations of physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad which have sparked an international outcry.

The U.S.-British draft reaffirms authorization for the multinational force currently in Iraq to continue to maintain security and stability, under a unified command. It would review the force's mandate in 12 months or at the request of the transitional government which will be elected by early next year. The Chinese proposal would authorize the formation and deployment of a multinational force to assume "primary responsibility for security during the transitional period."

Its mandate would expire in January 2005 when elections are scheduled to be held. The Chinese plan says that any extension "should respect the views of the new Iraqi government to be elected and decided by the Security Council."

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