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US Seeks Quick Vote for New UN Assistance Mission in Iraq - 2003-08-13

The United States wants a vote as early as Thursday on a resolution approving a 12-month mandate for a new U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq.

The United States is urging the Security Council to act quickly to adopt a resolution authorizing a U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq. The same resolution also recognizes the recently created Governing Council of Iraq.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the U.S. push for speed on the resolution is not an indicator of any pullback of the U.S. position in Iraq. Nor, he said, does the resolution specifically signal an increase in the United Nations' role in Iraq.

"This resolution is focused. It is focused on two very specific issues. One is the fact that there is a Governing Council in Iraq, and we are proposing that the Security Council welcome that development as a step toward the establishment of a representative and internationally recognized government. The second is the decision to make a United Nations assistance mission, which is something that was recommended to us by the Secretary General. It doesn't have any broader implications," he said.

The Governing Council of Iraq is an interim administrative body, made up of 25 Iraqis from across the religious, ethnic and political spectrum of the country. The Governing Council has the power to approve budgets, make policy and appoint diplomatic representatives abroad.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has the power to veto any of the Governing Council's decisions.

Once the Security Council resolution is approved, the new U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq will switch from its current emergency funding status to regular U.N. budget status.

Countries that opposed the war in Iraq, including France, Germany and Russia, have indicated they might send troops to Iraq to assist in peacekeeping if the United Nations were to take on a larger role there.