A delegation representing the new Iraqi Governing Council has called for international support during a special Security Council session on Iraq.
Adnan Pachachi served as an Iraqi foreign minister before Saddam Hussein came to power. Now as a member of the new 25 member Iraqi governing organization, he has assured the Security Council that the brutality of the Hussein regime will never return to Iraq.
But he says a long list of challenges lie ahead. In presenting the Iraqi group's vision, he listed as priorities restored security, the appointment of ministers and the reopening of Iraqi embassies. He also discussed the need for a revived economy, the establishment of a constitutional congress and a tribunal to prosecute past injustices.
Mr. Pachachi appealed for international support. "The challenge that is facing us is enormous, indeed, and the responsibilities of the Governing Council are too many, difficult and diverse," he said. "One can not underestimate the great responsibility born by members of this council."
Mr. Pachachi was joined by two members of the Governing Council, a mid-level official from the Hussein government, Akila al-Hashemi, and the head of a U.S.-supported group of Iraqi exiles, Ahmed Chalabi.
During a news conference that followed the Security Council session, Mr. Chalabi told reporters that Saddam Hussein had actively developed weapons of mass destruction. He said that the U.S.-led coalition has only recently begun a serious search for concealed weapons.
Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed the creation of the Iraqi Council. But he and other diplomats say the goal remains a restoration of security, the early end of the military occupation and the formation of an internationally recognized representative government. "Meanwhile, it is vital that the Iraqi people should be able to see a clear timetable with a specific sequence of events leading to the full restoration of sovereignty as soon as possible," he said.
Mr. Annan's Special Representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, urged the international community, the Iraqi people and countries in the region to support the new Iraqi Governing Council. "Credibility, you do not acquire over night. I believe this [Governing] Council is as representative as it can be under the circumstances," he said. Tell me who is missing in that council?"
Two protesters briefly disturbed the Security Council meeting on Iraq, shouting that the Iraqi Governing Council quote "is illegal." In his remarks, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte described the presence of the Iraqi delegation as a sign that freedom has returned to Iraq. But France and Russia, who had opposed the Iraq War, were among several council members to underscore the need of the U.S.-led Coalition to restore law and order.