US still seeks UN troops in Iraq

The United States has had to rethink its campaign to command a larger and stronger multinational occupation force in Iraq, following the deadly bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

    Powell may take advantage of mood in UN to enroll more military muscle in Iraq

    A new UN resolution to enlist more foreign troops for the support of US-led forces in Iraq will be top of the agenda on Thursday, when American Secretary of State Colin Powell meets UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in New York.
      
    The initial plan was discussed last month after France, Germany and India refused a US request to provide troops unless there was a broader UN mandate.

    However, these countries and others, including Turkey, Russia and possibly Japan, have made clear they will not allow their forces to serve under US command.
      
    Power struggle

    A Security Council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to AP, said the US administration initially appeared to be making a similar proposal, calling for more international troops without relinquishing any control over Iraq. 
      

    "I do not see UN blue helmets going into Iraq at this stage"

    Kofi Annan, UN secretary general

    But unless Washington agrees to cede some control of Iraq to the United Nations, the diplomat said the possibility of a robust multinational force appeared unlikely to pick up any new supporters. 
      
    Privately, several council diplomats expressed concern the United States would try to take advantage of the emotional mood inside the United Nations to push for troop contributions.

    Initially, Annan said the United Nations was determined to remain in Iraq to help restore peace and stability, but he also added: "I do not see UN blue helmets going into Iraq at this stage."
      
    Tun Myat, the UN security coordinator, is leaving for Iraq on Thursday to analyse the risks and recommend whether the remaining UN staff should stay.
      
    Security assessment

    The United Nations bombing in Baghdad was due to mistakes made by US-led occupation forces and the world body itself, according to the UN secretary general.

    Speaking from his New York headquarters on Wednesday, UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said: "The coalition has made some mistakes and maybe we have made some too... along the way mistakes have been made by all concerned."

    While the UN has stopped short of directly criticising US forces for failing to protect its compound in Baghdad, officials have repeatedly stressed outside perimeter security was the sole responsibility of the coalition forces.
      
    "It is for those who've responsibility for security and law and order, who have intelligence, to determine what action is taken," Annan added.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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