US plans to increase UN role in Iraq

US Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to negotiate a Security Council resolution that would draw the United Nations into a bigger military role in occupied Iraq.

    Armitage and Powell agree an 'American would be the UN commander'

    One State Department official, speaking to journalists in Washington on Tuesday night, said the draft UN resolution “talks about how countries can contribute” to Iraq’s occupation “in political, military and economic areas”.

    UN envoys said the draft might include a role for the United Nations in helping to prepare for elections in Iraq.
       
    In an afternoon meeting, US President George Bush and Powell discussed ways to persuade the Council to provide backing for a multinational force under a single US command, the US official said.
       
    The United States has insisted on retaining authority in Iraq although former president Saddam Hussein was removed from power in April.
       
    Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in an interview last week, said a concept under consideration was a multinational force under UN sponsorship, but "the American would be the UN commander."
       
    Resistance attacks
       
    The UN resolution move comes as repeated resistance attacks on US-led forces and US-appointed Iraqis in positions of authority have become a daily occurrence.

    Until recently, Powell and other US officials contended that a Security Council resolution adopted in May was sufficient to get other countries to send more troops.

    Following sanctions, neither UN or
    US popular in today's Iraq

    But attitudes have begun to change with increasing casualties and the unwillingness of countries such as India, Pakistan and Turkey to serve under US occupiers in Iraq.

    France, Germany and Russia, which led opposition to the US invasion at the United Nations earlier this year, are not expected to send troops either.

    They want a stronger UN political role in Iraq and it was unclear how much the US draft resolution would meet their demands by handing over significant authority to the world body.

    US reaction
        
    Dismissing international disagreement over Iraq’s administration, the State Department official said the draft resolution "addresses security within the framework that Secretary-General Annan has talked about, which is a multinational force under a unified command."
       
    Other US sources said the resolution text was not expected to be distributed to the full 15-member Security Council until late this week or next week, although close US ally Britain had received a copy.
       
    Diplomats at the United Nations said there would be private discussions with the other permanent UN Security Council members - France, Russia and China - before any draft text was distributed to the full council.

    SOURCE: AFP


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