The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a U.S.-drafted resolution on Iraq. The three European skeptics on the Council: France, Germany and Russia agreed to support the resolution, but with reservations.
In a victory for U.S. and British diplomacy, a proposal for rebuilding Iraq that seemed mired in controversy a few days ago was endorsed unanimously. The final draft underwent at least five revisions, but in the end retained the main elements of the original.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, in his capacity as president of the Council, announced the results.
"The draft resolution received 15 votes in favor. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously," Ambassador Negroponte said.
The resolution authorizes a multinational force under U.S. command and maintains Washington's vision of a handover of sovereignty to Iraqis only after a stable government is in place.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan - who had earlier spoken of the importance of a broad mandate for any resolution - congratulated Council members for reaching a consensus. But he emphasized that the transfer of sovereignty should be done quickly.
"Process has been difficult, but the outcome is a clear demonstration of the will of all the members of the Security Council to place the interests of the Iraqi people above other considerations," he said. "Our common objective is to restore peace and stability to a sovereign, independent and democratic Iraq as quickly as possible."
The vote came after days of negotiations and last minute consultations. France, Germany and Russia - three countries that had expressed substantial objections to the draft - decided to support it after a video conference call among their leaders hours before the vote.
They made clear, however, that they still have reservations over how fast to transfer power to Iraqis.
The unanimous resolution will give a big boost to U.S. and British efforts to win pledges of troops and money for rebuilding Iraq. An international donors' conference on Iraq will be held in Madrid beginning October 23.