US to call for vote on Iraq draft

The United States has said it will call for a vote on a draft UN resolution to get broader international backing for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq.

    Much of Iraq is in a state of chaos

    The resolution is virtually assured of adoption by the

    15-member UN Security Council.

    But it is unclear whether key

    council members, such as France, Germany, Russia and China,

    would support the measure or abstain, thereby lessening the

    impact of the resolution.

    Announcing the vote late on Tuesday, US Ambassador John

    Negroponte said: "I think we have made every effort

    possible to take into account the views of various

    delegations."

    With President George Bush under pressure from the

    growing cost of the Iraq occupation in US lives and money, W

    ashington is pressing the UN to pass a resolution

    paving the way for other states to contribute forces and cash.

    Concessions 

    France, Germany and Russia, supported by China, submitted

    amendments that showed considerable concessions, some of which

    were accepted by Washington.

    But their key amendment on

    devising a specific timeline for the end of occupation was

    rejected by the United States and Britain.

    The three countries dropped earlier demands for a handover

    of sovereignty to an Iraqi provisional government within five

    months.

    UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, whose stand on Iraq is

    critical for many member states, said the US-drafted

    resolution had made few significant changes.

    He said that as

    long as the US occupation continued, "the resistance will

    grow".

    Annan (L) says Iraqi resistance
    will continue to grow

    US occupation

    "Obviously, the current resolution does not represent a

    major shift in the thinking of the coalition," Annan said.

    He made clear he had no immediate plans to send back UN

    staff, most of whom were pulled out after a car bomb wrecked

    the UN offices in Baghdad and killed 22 people in August.

    But he said he would consider it in the future and that

    this was recognised in the draft.

    As in earlier versions, the resolution would transfer the

    current troops to a UN-authorised multinational force, still

    under US leadership.

    This is to give a UN imprimatur to

    nations such as Pakistan and Bangladesh that may send troops,

    but need political cover to serve under an occupation.

    Iraqi sovereignty

    In a gesture to critics, the US-drafted resolution says

    the Iraqi Governing Council "will embody the sovereignty of the

    State of Iraq".

    Annan dismissed this as "a nice phrase" that made little

    difference. "The resolution also says that the occupying power

    is the authority and is a government," he noted.

    "It is not a question of finding words to stitch words

    together. We need to think of the impact that the resolution

    and our action will have on the ground because that is the test

    of the effectiveness of an Iraqi resolution."

    The United Nations in the US draft would play a "vital"

    but not a central political role in guiding Iraqis toward

    self-rule.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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