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UN Security Council Adopts Iraq Governing Council Resolution

The 15-member U.N. Security Council Thursday adopted a resolution welcoming the Governing Council of Iraq by a vote of 14-0. The U.N. resolution welcomes the 25-member interim Governing Council of Iraq, and gives a 12-month mandate to a new U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq. It does not include any provision to widen the role of the United Nations in Iraq.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who drafted the resolution, said welcoming the Governing Council is an important step forward.

"This resolution helps pave the way towards the peace, stability and democracy that the long-afflicted Iraqi people so richly deserve," he said. "It also sends a clear signal to those who oppose the political transformation under way in Iraq that they are out-of-step with world opinion."

The only Arab country represented on the Security Council, Syria, abstained.

Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe, this month's president of the Security Council, said it is not up to the United Nations to welcome the interim government in Iraq.

"We believe that it is the Iraqi people only who can give legitimacy to the Governing Council," he said.

Ambassador Wehbe also objected to the closed-door talks that led up to the vote, saying that member states were not given an opportunity to suggest changes to the language in the resolution.

Pakistan, which voted in favor of the resolution, also complained that the veto-wielding permanent five members of the Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - did not give the remaining 10 members enough opportunity for input.

U.S. Ambassador Negroponte said two open consultations were held prior to the vote.

"In neither instance did any of the delegates who have voiced this kind of complaint make substantive suggestions for changes to the draft," he said.

Some Security Council members were wary of giving a full endorsement to the interim Governing Council, saying that they want U.S. occupation to end quickly so that a permanent Iraqi government can be formed.

Ambassador Negroponte said that while this resolution does not specify a wider role for the United Nations in Iraq, he does not rule out any future discussions on the matter.