The U.N. Security Council is preparing to unanimously adopt a U.S. and British-sponsored resolution on Iraq. France and Germany, two countries that had asked for last-minute changes, have signaled approval of the measure.
As he entered the Council chambers, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said only one word in reply to a question about today's vote, "Unanimous."
German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger was more forthcoming. He said France and Germany were satisfied that last-minute adjustments in the draft had addressed their concerns about the relationship between Iraqi leaders and the foreign troops that will remain in the country.
"We welcome that the co-sponsors, with a great lot of flexibility, have included a lot of suggestions and improvements into the resolution, not least I think a very imaginative and constructive approach of the French-German amendment and therefore I think we have come to a situation where we can vote and we hope the resolution can be adopted by consensus," he said.
The resolution gives Iraqi leaders control of the country's security forces.
The U.S. led multi-national force is to work out with Iraq's new interim government a policy on how to cooperate on what are called sensitive offensive operations. The deal stops short of granting Iraq a veto over major offensives by U.S.-led troops.
Monday, U.N. special envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi told the Security Council the way Iraqis see the relationship between the interim government and the multinational force will greatly affect the government's credibility.
British Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry, who has worked for more than a month to win unanimous support for the measure, was brimming with excitement as he entered the Council chamber Tuesday.
"We have had four versions of the text before we put together a fifth and final version last night," he said. "We consulted the Iraqi government in waiting, and out of it has come a resolution which I hope will be seen as good for Iraq, but especially marking the restoration of its sovereignty, an entirely new phase, the involvement of the U.N. and the military process. All that is coming together, so we are very happy."
Separately, Secretary General Kofi Annan is meeting with a group called Friends of Iraq to ask for greater support for the interim government. The Friends of Iraq, made up of 47 countries and the European Union, was established to exchange views and advice with interested parties, including several of Iraq's neighbors.