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Britain Welcomes UN Resolution on Iraq - 2004-06-09


British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has applauded the unanimous adoption of the U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq Tuesday.

After weeks of diplomatic wrangling, Britain got what it wanted - passage of a new post-war Security Council resolution on Iraq charting the country's future.

On the steps of the Foreign Office here in London, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said resolution 1546 shows that the people of Iraq have the united support of the international community.

Mr. Straw said the mandate opens the door to democracy, and for the Iraqi people to determine their own future.

"In seven months time, just seven months time, there will be elections in Iraq," he said. "We will have a democratic elected government. What a contrast with the tyranny and dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."

While the Foreign Secretary acknowledged that the transitional phase ahead will not be easy, he predicted that the polarized British public will come around to the view that the war in Iraq was, in the final analysis, the correct course to take.

"Of course, over the last year things have been difficult on the ground," he noted, "but it is my belief that the British people have always wanted to see a democratic, stable, prosperous Iraq and they wanted to see the back of Saddam Hussein. And so I do believe that over the months ahead, if this pathway in the Security Council resolution is followed through that there will be an increasing re-emergence of support for the position which the British government has taken."

Mr. Straw said all indications are that the violence in Iraq will not end when the transitional Iraqi government takes sovereignty July 1. But he downplayed concerns about problems that might arise between the new government and the multinational force in Iraq.

"The people on the ground and Iyad Allawi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, anticipate that there will be a continuation of violence," Mr. Straw said. "But I am in no doubt that the new Iraqi government are as determined as the coalition partners will be, working at the request of the Iraqi government. They are determined to clamp down on the terrorism and the insurgency because it is the Iraqi people themselves who want to celebrate and enjoy their freedom."

Mr. Straw said the Iraqi government will have the right to change its relationship with the U.S.-led multinational force, and even to ask the troops to leave.

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