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US, Britain Present Draft UN Resolution on Iraqi Sovereignty - 2004-05-24


The United States and Britain have introduced a Security Council resolution outlining a full transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government on June 30. A multinational force is to continue providing security in Iraq for at least a year.

The five-page draft resolution reflects weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations among Security Council countries. As he entered the Council chamber to present the draft Monday, British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry was optimistic about a quick consensus on terms of a hand-over of power to an interim government in Baghdad.

"But our wish is early progress and try and see a vote in order to end uncertainty and provide a way forward," he said. "And we should do that, I hope in the early period in June."

The resolution calls for a multinational force under unified command to provide security for the foreseeable future. The mandate would be reviewed after one year, however - or earlier if the transitional government requests.

Germany's U.N. representative, Gunter Pleuger, said he was still waiting to see the plan for an interim government being prepared by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. But called the draft a good basis for discussion.

"It is important that resolution will make clear that we have a new start in Iraq, a political process, the restoration of sovereignty to Iraq, and we will make sure process provides Iraqi ownership for the political process as well as for the process of economic reconstruction," he said.

The draft resolution outlines a leading role for the United Nations in overseeing the process to an elected Iraqi government.

Most international U.N. staff, however, remain outside Iraq, because of security considerations. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stressed repeatedly that improvements in overall security before U.N. employees return en masse.

Special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been in Baghdad for several weeks, consulting with various political factions about the composition of a post-occupation administration. He is expected to return to New York headquarters later this week.

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